The Struggles of a Young Kenyan Boy


Written by *Anonymous

Lying in a tool shed, in 100 degree Texas heat, I started contemplating whether I should turn myself in to the police, and maybe they could make arrangements to send me back to Kenya.

I had lived in Dallas Texas, for six months, and by May 2010, I was alone.

I arrived in Dallas in January 2010, on a student visa, and I was ready to experience the wonders of America. My relatives who lived in Dallas took me to visit a few malls, restaurants and nightclubs. I knew I had truly made it to the land of milk and honey.

Little did I know that the milk would soon turn sour and the honey bitter as my life in America took a turn for the worse.

January 19, was my first day at the University I had enrolled in. It was beautiful and bigger than I had imagined. I was two weeks late, and the semester had started, so I had to play catch up and in no time I got into the flow of things or at least that is what I thought.

Within the first few days of school it became clear that I couldn’t stay with my relatives, the drive to school was too far for them, so they found student apartments near the school which became my first apartment.

My first apartment

Little did I know that I would share an apartment with students who indulged in smoking cannabis. In addition, the apartment was filthy odor abound, cleaning up was not on the list of their priorities. I spent most of my time in my room. The cost of living at the apartment began to put a strain on my finances. I didn’t have a job, and my parents could not afford to send money to me on a regular basis.

The next issue I had to deal with was transportation to school. I had to depend on the school bus which proved to be unreliable as I still had to walk a few miles to make it to school on time. I later bought a bicycle in the hope that it would make my daily commute easer, but with the cold weather I often found myself shivering and drenched in sweat when I got to school

Failing my classes

March 2010, I received an email from the school administration informing me that I was failing my classes. This came as a surprise to me as I had attended every class and did all the work assigned. It was then I learnt about something called “blackboard.” It is an online tool that teachers use to give students homework and assign discussion topics. Once again I found myself playing catch up so that I could improve my grade.

I was homesick

I missed my friends back in Kenya, and home cooked meals. I wasn’t a good cook, so I often found myself eating fast food until it became too expensive.

I hated my life in America, my accent made it difficult for me to make friends at school. The handful of Kenyans I knew where to busy with their lives and I was nothing but a mere inconvenience to them. I often found myself sitting in my room, lost in my thoughts feeling sad and depressed.

May 2010, I received an eviction notice; I was a month behind on my rent. I was broke and my parents weren’t able to send money to me as they were under the impression that I should have been able to get a job. They didn’t understand that getting a job as an international student, on or off campus, was harder than most people imagined.

I tried to reach out my relatives that lived in Texas, but after many unanswered phone calls and emails I realized I was all alone.


The Tool Shed

The tool shed 

On a hot summer day, with my a few belonging, I took shelter in the apartment complex tool shed storage.

The heat was excruciating, it was at least 100 degrees outside, and I spent the night in my boxer shorts unable to sleep contemplating my next move.

With a gallon of water and a can of beans, I spent the longest three nights in the tool shed.

I was lucky to find some friends who let me live with them for a few months, until I was able to get back on my feet

To be honest, it was the help of strangers who later became my friends that I was able overcome the obstacles I had encountered.

My American dream was that I would go to school, find a job and enjoy my life. But the reality of it is that I am lucky to get more than five hours of sleep a night.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know it couldn’t get any worse than the summer of 2010.

*Anonymous used to protect the identity of the storyteller

Feel free to leave comments on pages or share if you’d like. Thank you


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41 thoughts on “The Struggles of a Young Kenyan Boy

  1. Brought tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to him and I sincerely hope that his current situation shall soon come to pass. All the best!

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  2. This really does bring sorrow to my heart, hang in there and remember;

    Never a burden that He does not carry,
    Never a sorrow He does not share;
    Whether the days may be sunny or dreary,
    Jesus is always there.

    I will never leave you nor forsake you – Hebrews 13:5

    This experience will only make you stronger…

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  3. I’m happy that the situation has gotten better for him. Keep praying and having faith and all will be good.

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  4. Very sad indeed alot of young kenyans in the DFW & other states are going through this , i personally know a couple who like the prodigal son came to their senses and have headed back to kenya . There afew kenyans i say A FEW kenyan’s who care or will help majority are to selfish & will only offer you lip service thats why we lag behind as a community despite our numerical superiorty among the africans in the DFW. Young people are the future !!!!!

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    • We cannot be able to support kenyans in US and Kenyans at home. Many students abroad are from well to do families. This culture of asking for help is so annoying. The money we are giving out to help fellow kenyans in US is worth a project back. If you cannot endure life in US, pack and leave.

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  5. They say wat doesn’t break you only makes u stronger bcoz we learn from our experiences! xo hang on n kip witnessing the waks of God as he iz neva late n he neva lets us b tempted beyond our strength…he iz faithful n almighty

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  6. mmmhhh,, the american dream suddenly turns into an american nightmare…. and as it were you find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place. At least the prodigal son had a place to go back to, unlike some who sold everything to come here and were unable to recover even the air ticket money…… and the thought of going back to kenya.. wuuuiiii..my biggest fear is taking a shower in a karai in the pit-latrine’ bathrooms’ ,you loose focus kidogo you and the panga soap part ways pronto… thhhtuk.. Soldier on young boy and trust in your maker[rd psalms 118;8]and let him do his job. you’ll turn out just fine . God bless you.

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  7. This one of the touching story have ever read so far,I really feel sorry for the young boy, at his age that was really too much for him to encounter,but as i read the story is one thing that came to my mind,that God will always bring on your way, challenges that are within your ability, and if something does not kill you its gonna make u stronger……God bless the poor boy!!!!

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  8. Haven’t we all gone through this. Typical story we all had to Ho through
    Think about it this way young lad u still got a long ways to go. If this OS not just a made
    Up composition still I give u 10/20. For stickin to the story

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  9. There’s always hope at the end of the rope!

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  10. Omg xp….where is this young boy?
    about an hour ago · Like

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  11. Never leave Kenya coming to rely on relatives in the US. Strangers are always better friends. You’ll make it, don’t worry. It’s what people call restructuring. All these big people will tell you they had to go through stuff. Now it’s time for you to change your family tree. Nothing comes easy. God bless you young man
    51 minutes ago ·

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  12. I feel so bad…unfortunately kenyans come here relying on pple BIG mistake….moving abroad is very tricky n I would advice him to find a way back home.
    40 minutes ago ·

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  13. Not saying all relatives are bad, but the plan should be to make your exit before burning relationships. All in all, this guy will look back at what happened and laugh about it a few years from now. These are moments that make us say, “I’ve had enough.” Then we make some changes in our lives. Keeping the eye on the price.
    42 minutes ago

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  14. ‎@ Becky, I don’t know. @ Pato, very true. Exactly my thoughts. A number of foreigners (esp. men) have been through this in the beginnings here in the USA; even those that come from financially able families (like the Prodigal son) do a have a hard time thinking going back home. The difference btwn. the Prodigal son & this Kenyan boy is that he did NOT squandered the little $$ he had living wild. Most people persevere coz they know of a few others who have gone thru. the same life & have made it. Going back home will make them feel like a failure.

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  15. But xp…unajua vile hii nchii imekua ngumu bila makaratasi…he’d be better off at home….anaeza fanyiwa harambee aende uni…his future of living off handouts will lead him into illegal activities since not even mcdees watamuandika.we wud rather do a harambee n send him home.

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  16. Thank you for reading “The struggles of a Young Boy” I will do a follow up story on him. In the story he does say, “To be honest, it was the help of strangers who later became my friends that I was able overcome the obstacles I had encountered.” He is now in school and doing much better. It is amazing to see peoples reactions and comments – I have exported them to the blog so that the young man can see them and see that their are people out there who care.

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  17. lol at dallasites feigning faux concern when in actuality the story is an allegory of kenyans in the diaspora

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  18. Very sad what we allow our brothers and sisters to go through. We come to the US with great expectations, after all it’s the land of milk and honey! Sympathize with this boy because after reading his story and encounters all I can say is thank God for friends. We are enough Kenyans in DFW, we just need to come together and have some kind of organization that helps its own people when in need. Making promises for some of us when we are on this end to our loved ones is easier than actually keeping them. We don’t realize the full extent of that commitment.

    Every test in our life makes us bitter or better. Every problem comes to make us or break us. Choice is ours, whether we become victim or victorious!!!! By sharing your story young boy, the healing process begins!! All the best to you and God bless..

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  19. I have gone thru this type of shit and seen some go through worse telling this guy to go back is not fair probably he doesn’t have shit at home like me and he has to push himself in this damn country no matter what unless you are a student who cam between 2001 going up and esp. 2009 then you don’t know shit about what we go through this guy should just hang on there i hang on there no matter how hard things are for me even though i used to walk for 3hrs in the 100 degree TX heat last summer just to get back home from school I never gave up and still doing my shit its what has to be done Kenya is now unlivable thanks to our stupid politicians my parents tell me that so bro. lets hang on there it will get better and if it doesn’t we will force it to get better plus look for someone wa ma-paper jipange to heck with the morals on respecting marriage that we were taught its time to survive and we won’t get messed up by this country we survived Kenya where there was no opportunity and got to where it was and even though tunakaziwa we will break through the walls just remember walls are not there to hold you back but they are there to hold others back I know I have said some shit but bro. that’s how we are now we will get back to morality when they start treating us (students) like human beings.

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    • Man!!! you said it like a millione minds put together. Its called the land for the brave, even people born here still find it a challenge to live in there own country, everybody here has to go against all odds to make ends meet atakama you gat papers or not. There will never be a smooth life unless you heading the same direction with the devil. For me I would advice the boy that there is a reason he is still keeping on and thanx alot for that special person who helped him,God bless!. I guess sometimes you have to go through hectic time just to know who still remains on your lane.

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  20. Thanx for highlighting it in neon. I have been in Kenya all my life and now I have an idea what thick skin, self-motivation, and energy I’ll need to put on when I get an opportunity to visit the US…. I have gone through hell back home and I now thank God and love Him so passionately for hardening me and sending people into my life to help me up on my feet after I fall so bad. Thanx Estar for this. I Love You and I Feel You….. My prayers for the boy to keep his eyes on his vision and he will make it through…. So Long

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  21. Oh…. Phew….. Can’t wait for the follow up…. When?

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  22. I pitty the boy.if conditions get worse id advise him to go to the Kenyan embassy to organise for his return home.no doubt,east or west home is always the best!

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  23. Incredible story and yet unfortunate. If folks knew he was struggling, or there was a system of help already set up for folks like him who need some help coping and getting on their feet, he would not have spent 3 days in the summer heat, in a tool shed. No one should have to live like an animal. This is wrong, it shows that after decades of Kenyans living and settling in Dallas we have failed in establishing mechanisms that will reduce folks like this guy having to suffer as they adjust to life in Dallas. This is an indictment on a community that has over the years become self segregated in tribes and class here in the metroplex.

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  24. strangers have been the best way to take a step a day in life.family will not be there for long.its a strange scenario and all i do is pray for the young man that your dreams are achieved.

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  25. My heart goes out to this young man. I thought i had it rough, but compared to him, my experience really was a bed of roses. Is he ok now? I’m actually ASHAMED to call myself a Kenyan in this state. I miss home and the sense of COMMUNITY!! tired of Kenyans favorite passtime of mindless gossip and mad hatorade. I would really like to help this young man, or anyone like him. unlike his relas, i’ve helped a few of my relas get on their feet and get settled. The same was done for me, and i feel its my duty to pay it forward.

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  26. We all go thro’ stuff but this was worse than most… I’m thankful to the strangers who took him as family. Isn’t it funny the way strangers have a heart to help in American than family??

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  27. What is his email address. I can give somethign small to buy dinner for a couple of days.

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    • Thank you Wambui and everyone who offered to help fortunately, he is in a much better position this days. Things are working out for him. I hope to be able to do a follow-up story where I will reveal his identity and he will share with everyone how he overcame this situation.
      ~ Blessings to all~

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      • Quit whining. Everyone “almost” starts like him and make it/ adjust sooner or later. Live with it or pack and go!! it is a mean world..suck it!

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  28. u need to stop crying like little baby i was homeless for two weeks sleep on grey hound bus stop know i have people working for me 14yrs later keep your head up and keep pushing failing is not an option u must be one of those kenyans who were spoon feed coz u dad was corrupt and u came to stato coz people were going to american give up and deport ur self and go home to mama

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  29. you know why people say that relas dont help when you are here in strange lands,its because all of us africans are carrying so much burdens from home that if all the people coming here would be landing in your house….then you will never have a space to breath….mostly these strangers who help are europeans who dont have much burdens….anyway many people have gone throught toughher experiences and if each one of us would write here…yours would be a child play…slepping in that shed…

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  30. This story is really touching and probably not the worst experience for many kenyans. Kenyans abroad need to spread the word that it is not easy for foreign students to get a job here in US. These kenyan relatives that are constantly accused of not willing to help are also struggling to make ends meet. It is not that they do not have a heart, they do but nobody wants to reason with them. Just as one does not ask for funds to pay Nairobi or Kenyatta University the same thing should happen in US. Take your child to a school where you feel that you can afford. The issue of “helping” among kenyans is alarming. It does not make sense to start helping our kenyan relatives in US while our own parents in kenya are struggling to have at least one decent meal in 24 hrs. An Air ticket to US is enough money for couple of semesters back home.

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  31. As a student myself.. this story is riddled with untruths.. the whole thing about blackboard… that cant be true. Every professor gives out a syllabus at the begining of the class and they emphasize how they want the homework turned in. Every new student is shown and given instructions on how to use the blackboard….. I pity that you went through a hard time, but I hope you have picked yourself up and you can look back and see where you have come from. Dont be fooled by all those feigning care right now.

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  32. I reckon everyone goes through stuff when they go to a new place, even back home when you move to a new town you go through some kind of stuff, not knowing your surroundings and not knowing what to do etc. according to some comments, some people take it that the author is being a sook (as we say here in the land Down Under) ie he is being a cry baby, Im of the opinion that he is just recounting his experience to us. Life is hard, period, whether you are in columbus or congo, mombasa or adelaide, life is not easy, we shouldnt crucify the young man and tell him to deport himself and go back home, hey we’ve all been there, how about we give him words of encouragement and offer the little help we can. Im glad to learn that he is doing well now and wish him all the very best. Never feel sorry for yourself for sorry never felt sorry for you

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  33. i expected churches which are so many up there to do something or all the preachers is water while they drink wine, shame on every one telling the boy to pack and you know every sunday we are in church if one has nothing to comment just go take a nup

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  34. Pole besty, life is hard here, but giving up shd not be an option..take lessons out of it n keep moving n doing the best..Let your experience keep ya fire burning and don`t listen to those who are telling u to pack n leave…That will mean u have given up…Life is not easy, Not a lot of pple got it good, but u have to have that hope for tomorrow….Keep your head up.

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