It’s the season for long lost Kenyans to return home for the holidays, the so called “Kenyans in the diaspora.” Hmm…diaspora…for some reason I don’t fancy that word. Say it to yourself five times. Diaspora, diaspora, diaspora….by the time you get to the third “diaspora” the word has ceased to make any sense. Diaspora ni wapi? And who thought up that word? It sounds like some sort of phenomenon, or perhaps a planet somewhere between Jupiter and Uranus. The latter is more likely though, seeing that it’s that time of the year when the word is thrown around loosely, to elicit some sort of favourable reaction.

Take for example last night, I was watching the news and there were these Kenyans from sijui where hosting a press conference at PNU headquarters stating that they had mobilized 75,000 Kenyans in the diaspora to come home and vote for President Kibaki. Well and good, but kwani your votes are worth twice the ordinary Kenyan’s vote? Ama on the ballot paper it’ll be indicated:

 

“tick here for indigenous Kenyan, tick here for Diaspora”?

 

You’re all within your rights to come home for the holidays, kula mwenjoyos and vote while you’re at it, but don’t think that you’re some specialist group that will have that much of an impact, like a World Bank economic recovery advisory committee, simply coz you’re from the diaspora.

I’ve actually met a chic called Diaspora. Well, I knew her as Di for a long time, but that was before I saw her ID. And laughed. And laughed a bit more. Ok I laughed quite a lot. So I asked her what the logic was and she told me that she was conceived while her folks were “in the diaspora pursuing further studies.”

The other day I was at a ka luncheon someplace and these two women were talking and one was like “that’s my son, he works in the diaspora and he just flew in last week!”

As I said, this diaspora joint to me seems like a ka planet where some Kenyans go to and observe the rest of their countrymen via satellite to see how (badly) they’re doing, so as to have some stories about how well THEY’RE doing, which obviously is much better than you’re doing. Or so they’d like you to believe. 

“I work in the diaspora. Where exactly? I work on Wall Street.”

He says nonchalantly. Look at it this way. There’s a big difference between working on Wall Street and WORKING on Wall Street. You could be a financial guru at some big financial institution, or you could be the guy who roasts maize has a cleaning contract with one of them big financial institution. For all intents and purposes si you both work on Wall Street? For all we know (coz these citizens of planet Diaspora rarely tell you straight up what they do) you could be flipping burgers in some miscellaneous fast food establishment in Nebraska. Hey, you’re still in the bloody diaspora!! I know life out there isn’t easy and guys have to do whatever they can to make ends meet. The so-called KYM jobs. Kama ni kusugua vyombo na chongaing candles, we’ve all done that. Nothing to be ashamed about.

Along with diaspora comes the distinction between abroad and overseas. If you’re a Kenyan working out of the country somewhere in Africa, you’re abroad. But if you’ve actually vukad a large water body somewhere, say…the Atlantic, then you’re overseas.

Swali la kijinga: in that case, a Kenyan businessman working in Eastern Uganda near the Kenyan border, or a Kenyan construction worker in South Sudan, are they also in the diaspora? Or abroad? For foreign expats (aka Red Plate) working in Kenya, do their people “back home” (I also hate this term) refer to them as Britons in the diaspora?

But there are those Kenyans here who are mightily impressed with these Diaspora fellows. And since it’s the season for them to “go back home” they’re like the hottest commodities in town. Summer bunnies. And with that comes the short flings otherwise known as summer bunny love. Just mention to someone that you just flew back in juzi, and you’ve got that polite accent from whichever part of the diaspora you were in, and they take to you immediately. It’s the coolest thing to proclaim that you’re from Atlan’a (or ATL), twang kidogo kumbe you’ve been there like a year and a half and you’re originally from DowntownMurang’aTexas. (say it with a twang)

The saddest thing is that some of those having a vacation fling with them summer bunnies think that it’ll last. The way I’ve been hearing quotes like “this is my boyfriend from the States” and vice versa. Please!! Enjoy the fling while it lasts. It’s purely symbiotic. Coz once that chap/chic boards that plane in the next few weeks and Captain Fulani announces that “we are now approaching the diaspora” your story will be quickly forgotten. Perhaps you might have a textual relationship (email, sms, Facebook) for a couple of months but that’s about it. People came down to have a good time so it’s rather foolish to assume that summer bunny will ditch his/her life in the States for your ass.


A.O.B

The year comes to a close in a few days’ time and this is likely to be my last post. It’s important to look back at the year that has been, the ups and the downs, and to find the positive things that have happened that I should be grateful for.

  1. Being alive – this is something that we take for granted. There’s no greater gift than that of life, coz that’s all we have. Without life, we cease to exist (I haven’t made much sense there, have I? Obviously if you’re not alive then you’re dead!!)
  2. The many friends that I’ve made this year, many of whom have become really close. They are too many to name, wengine wenu mnajijua, you’re all thibecio.
  3. Being able to sort out my uni mess and to be able to resume school in January.

There are many other things I’m grateful for this year but due to time….

Be safe this Christmas, don’t drink and drive coz we need you all to make it into next year. Vote wisely – whoever you choose in as your next president, that’s up to you. As long as Karoocy isn’t in State House on Jan 1st. But as for MP, if your MP has been in parliament for 10 or 15 years or more but he/she’s done nothing of significance, please don’t hesitate to send the idiot home. I’ve already given my MP the red card despite having campaigned for him back in 2002.

One of the reasons why I’m really looking forward to 2008 is that finally we’ll go back to thinking of the next person as an individual and not as their tribe or political inclination. The only divisions worth having are “Hi, I’m Bob and I’m a Gooner” or “I’m Wangari and I’m a Scouser” or “I’m Archer and I’m a true blue.” Hiyo tu. It’s interesting how tribalism becomes a major issue every after 5 years.

Oh, and please strap up before you do the freaky biz. Too many HIV infections/unwanted pregnancies occur in Dec when people are barely ever sober enough to make wise decisions.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

What’s on my Playlist?

Time is now – Moloko

Advertisements