What is ailing Diaspora marriages?
A man slaughters his daughter and wife; a woman kills her husband and son then commits suicide. These gruesome tales from abroad are red flags that something is amiss in the Kenyan Diaspora house.
Recently, a Kenyan man — Edward Mundia Mwaura — living in Indiana USA, killed his six-year-old daughter, Shirley Mundia in a domestic brawl.
According to stories on social media the embattled man killed little Shirely, who had just graduated from kindergarten, as a way of getting back at his wife for ‘stressing’ him.
The story goes on to say that the man had moved from another state to Indiana to be away from his ‘toxic wife’ who went ahead and followed him to Indiana.
And in October, 2010, angry over a suspected affair, 43-year-old Kenyan born Justus Ogendi Kebabe struck his wife in the head with a golf club and strangled her with an electrical cord until she died. He then drugged two of his children and killed them while one struggled and begged him to stop.
These incidents have raised questions as to what could be ailing the Kenyan home in the Diaspora.
Even though one can argue that such appalling acts happen everywhere and not necessarily confined to the Diaspora, it’s clear that the frequency of these chilling murders in the Diaspora family is a red sign that our sons and daughters overseas are not at peace.
So what could be ailing Kenyan marriages in the Diaspora?
Experts point to stress among Kenyan men brought about by several factors, among them the continued erosion of Kenyan men’s earning power and influence on family matters.
Changing family roles in the US are now such that the Kenyan woman finds herself shouldering the roles of sole provider traditionally reserved for men.
Nowadays, jobs are hard to come by as the effects of the recent recession bite and the country implements stricter immigration rules.
Research has also shown that women find it easier to adjust to life abroad compared to men.
According to Pastor Terry Gobanga of Stones to Rubies Ministries, the standard of living in the West is one reason why many marriages fail.
“Back at home, a couple can afford a helper who can carry out house chores such that when they come from work, most if not all the house work has been done. In the West, employing a house help is costly and many middle class Africans cannot afford it.
“But then some men carry the African mentality that the kitchen is the woman’s domain and when both spouses have come from work and are equally tired, the woman is the one forced to do the housework all alone. She does this for some time and then gives in. This is a major source of squabble,” says Terry.
Pastor Terry adds that the culture shock that many Africans experience once they relocate to the West is another factor that contributes to failure of marriages.
“The restrictive cultural boundaries back in the West are loose or undefined. Some of the things that are considered taboo back home are acceptable in the West. The gay movement, for example, is strong and vibrant in most Westernized countries and spouse swapping is a common fad. If one spouse is entangled in any of this, then it is a sure leeway for conflict and possible separation or even divorce in extreme cases,” says Terry.
The individualistic self-centered society has also contributed to the escalating divorce rates among Africans in the Diaspora.
“Unlike in the Diaspora, here we have our nuclear family that can mediate and mitigate in case of a crisis or stalemate in a marriage.
However, in the West, it is a different story. You see for us here, before you go to the family court to seek for a divorce, there are certain things or decisions that you will ponder before taking that big step.
But in the West, you do not have to consult anybody or fear that someone will question your move. You can hop from one marriage to another and your next-door neighbor may or may not notice and he or she won’t do anything about it. It is a cold world out there,” adds Terry.
In an attempt to address issues affecting marriages in the Diaspora, sometime back a group of concerned Kenyans from various states organized a conference that saw several experts give their take on what needs to be done.
Mwakilishi.com an online mouthpiece for Kenyans in the Diaspora, quotes Dr Lilian Odera a clinical psychologist in Florida speaking at the conference.
Dr Odera says one of the major factors contributing to a fail in Kenyan marriages in the Diaspora is that African men and women in the Diaspora have different thinking patterns and that at some stage, their marriages cannot hold anymore due to these differences.
As the Kenyan woman advances herself career-wise, she outpaces her man financially and socially.
Sooner or later, both find themselves on different economic levels, dealing with different environments and hanging around different people. The perspective of things that they once shared starts to disintegrate.
While the woman moves up the ladder, the African man is usually left struggling trying to find his footing.
According to Isaac Kariuki of diasporamessager.com, who was a key organizer of the conference, Kenyan marriages in America are breaking up easily because they have ceased to be institutions ordained by God.
Isaac says in the current state of affairs, it seems that marriages are considered social contracts with individuals asking questions like “what will I gain if I marry her/him?”.
The expectations of both parties to the marriage are different when entering into marriage and soon or later, their differences overpower them and their will to stay together.
Since marriage is recognized throughout the world as a turning point in the lives of a couple, it requires more adjustment than possibly any other life stage as partners sort out the roles they will play and learn each other’s needs and wants for a vibrant home.
- By Sylvia Wakhisi, The Standard
As a Kenyan father who underwent through much pain during my separation and eventual divorce from my ex wife,i feel empowered to contribute to the issues which have become common in most marriages and especially Kenyans in diaspora.It is a common misconception that the wife's earnings is the main problem,going back many years ago,i remember my parents singing 'Wanganangu's son..''Wanyendire Ngikiririria'' about love,you loved me and i perservered,Love is the glue which sticks people together through thin and thick,we all know so well that Parents play a major role in their childrens marriage especially the ladies parents and mostly the mother,if the neighbors daughter starts her development's in Kenya and her's does not,then the scapegoat becomes the husband,freedom as they say has its cost, at work most people work with other nationals who left their wive's in their native countries and when people are stressed and decide to share with the people who spend most of the time with you,they find themselves in a corner and with the garbage on the screens and moral decay,a quickie becomes the norm and its downhill from there.
Our African churches favor one gender and the Pastor's are not trained to address such issues remember they are ministers of the Gospel and not pshy D.we have to be honest and go back to the drawing board and remember you may favor your daughter now but at some point you might be blessed with a boy who may undergo the same.Most fathers cannot stand the thought of another man raising his child/children and at the same time living like a pauper,lets call a spade a spade and remember..''Muigai Njoroge"has a song which says it as it is..a boy child is in Danger...just a thought..lets encourage Marriages and support them,there is always the alternative which most are taking ...homosexuality and if we dont address it now ,then when?
let's respect each other and assume our roles as Father's ,mother's and parents and if it does not work,lets be civil and raise our children with respect,there is no need of fighting let alone killing each other.
I like the way you have said it in your last para......'be civil and raise the children with respect' in case of divorce.... otherwise the children suffer the most if parents are out for revenge and/or vengeful gratification. ...
And yes, talk of reversed times..... the boy-child is now the endangered species...... less boys are graduating from universities, and those who do are finding it hard to cope with joblessness and are running for the bottle or drugs. Tough times seem to hit men harder than women, for whatever reason.
As a parent, I have not been married and I do not intend to......but I want my son to be married and be happy. It is a catch 22 since I have no control over her chosen partner....but only to love her and treat her as my daughter, the rest is up to God and them.
I think people are using african traditions and girl empowerment as a scapegoat.Kenyan women are still getting ahead in Kenya...Many are doctors,lawyers and business people;at least this is what i saw in nairobi and in my family growing up.Unless most people were born before independence.
The issue of marriages in diaspora is just part of a larger problem of marriages in US.2 out of 3 marriages in the US have ended up in divorce anyway.And the US has the largest prison population in the whole world. People should stop viewing the US from a Paternalistic point of view.Marriage problems are everywhere.
40 years ago 2/3 of the US population had stable marriages and the women were also living under the "traditional role" people are throwing around. Everybody knows that most societies are changing due to economics.And that can cause stress in a marriage. People should stop demeaning african ways;Not all african ways are bad.The US also had a shameful past which they are scared of talking about.
Every couple whether they are in Kenya or diaspora will face challenges in their marriage. HOW COME NGUGI WA THIONGO WHO RESPECTS AFRICAN TRADITIONS AND HAS AN EDUCATED WIFE IS STILL MARRIED! AND THERE ARE MANY OTHER EXAMPLES. MUTUAL RESPECT GOES ALONG WAY REGARDLESS OF CULTURE/TRADITION. people should stop seeing the US as this ideal place where if you dont conform your marriage collapses. only 26% of blacks are married is it because of tradition the 64% are not? The dorminant culture has more resources at their disposal and has helped them to shield divorce.but still divorce is a big problem not just for KENYANS!FOR EVERYONE....
Good article. We need more articles that address socio-economic that are specific to us.
I think part of the problem is that we come out here both unprepared and on some level unwilling to deal with the difference in environment and roles. This is a different culture. When you come out here, you have to be on some level willing to take on some 'nontraditional roles' If you want things to remain as they are, never leave home.
I agree with the article. Women adapt faster. I did. I feel empowered to do thing I might never have a chance to do back home. Here, I took myself through school, got a good office job adapted to the culture here and fit in very well. I had the courage to follow me dream. Kenyan men have a more difficult time especially those that get into female dominated careers like nursing. He feels less of a man and so his woman has to overcompensate for his bruised ego - a very difficult task for most woman because the truth is, only you drive your self esteem. It is not something anyone can give or take from you.
A third reason is the stress of keeping up with demands and family back home. I have found peace in not trying to put up a front. I am happy with what I have and do not feel the need to prove to anyone I have money. But many are going broke here, living in desperate situations so they can meet family demand for money. It is really difficult to both take care of yourself and an entire family at home. Its so stressful anyone can only take so much. I have a solution. We need to talk more openly about these things. It is the first step to find a resolution. It is also comforting to know that you are not the only one going through something. If we as a community cannot deal with this, we are in big trouble. Good job to all of us that come out here, we have no family and we have hussled to be where we are today. Remember, success is not so much where you are today, it is what you had to overcome to be there.
My view is that when Kenyans and others come to the US, jealous relatives back home go after them using witchcraft. As a Christian I never thought such things can wreck havoc on people's lives until I started watching www.emmanuel.tv and saw Prophet T B Joshua used by God to reveal to people attending the worship service that witchcraft or other agents of the devil were destroying there lives.
I have also been seeing people being delivered and when the demons manifest they reveal that they caused the person to divorce, or they make the wife to be stubborn and violent so the husband can divorce and the "Spiritual husband" (the demon) can have the wife or the husband to themselves. In short the reality of satanic attacks is more felt on diaspora because many people are looking upto people in diaspora but similar things happen in Kenya. The wave of husband beating in Central Kenya and alcoholism is all demons behind it; crime and carjacking, prostitution etc are all the works of demons. Demons don't like it when people succeed and move away from their ancestral homes especially if those demons were family idols (traditional gods worshipped by forefathers since they want people to go back to the village and worship them). Sounds strange? Watch the videos below and keep watching www.emmanuel.tv especially live services on Thursday and Sundays.
Even Christians and Pastors can experience demonic attacks especially if those demons entered their lives when they were young and they never got delivered after getting saved. Check out these videos and see for yourself
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd1HBASxQgI (Diaspora marriage - non-Kenyan)
7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5oJhrZUTLs (Marital problems and blocked womb)
If after watching all these you haven't learned anything about what actually ails marriages at home or abroad then search your specific deliverance topic under T B Joshua ministry on you tube. Land issues, armed robbery victims, business failure, AIDS, prostitution, .... you name it is ALL CAUSED BY DEMONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On a light note, even Raila's problems can be traced to his trust in witchcraft. The devil has nothing good to give. Even when you go to a witch to have your enemy attacked, you also receive your share of demons that will multiply your problems and claim ownership over you. It is all forms of devil worship.
Even Whites marriages are affected by demons and that is why the rate of divorce is very high in the West. The system in the West with all its BUSY SCHEDULES AND AVERSION TO GODLY ANYTHING IS DUE TO DEMONIC/STANIC INFLUENCE ON GOVERNANCE AND THE SYSTEM. See like no PRAYERS IN SCHOOLS OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACES ETC
While i do understand that there are witches and demons,people still have to take responsibility for their actions,decisions and not always try to find someone else but themselves to blame for their shortcomings.yes i do not deny that there is witchcraft which poor,desperate uneducated Kenyans trust in.But if your faith is strong,you can scatter the witches and wizards when they go to do their craft.Also i do know of Christians who will not make an effort to resolve or confront domestic issues in their families becuase, it is more convenient to blame an unseen demon or witch.Then the innocent are accused of being witches etc.Families have been torn becuase of the so called "revelations" etc.Some people have even lost their lives over such false accusations.Yes these are the last days foretold in the bible.If God truly reveals that someone is a witch, then you should have a burden to pray for that person's deliverance ,salvation.With that kind of mindset, some churches have become gatherings but not for the better for the lost.
It is about time we break some African’s unyielding traditions of what is expected from a man or a woman and work toward an equal partnership in every imaginable way. I am not talking about gender equality here – make no mistake! When partners in marriage value equality, they see each other as equals, treat each other with love & respect, consider each other’s needs, and support one another. Equal partners agree on goals together and work as a team to achieve these goals. They show equal commitment to the relationship and provide mutual support and nurturing. Each values the other’s work life as highly as his or her own, even if that work life doesn’t include employment outside the home. Most couples say they prefer an equal partnership, but studies show that few couples live up to their rhetoric. In most marriages, women do an unfair share of household tasks and the majority of child care, regardless of whether they work outside the home or not.
Specifically, women do two or three times as much housework as men because we cannot afford maids or house help here. Mothers spend 3 to 5 hours actively involved with their children for every hour that fathers spend. Men, on the other hand, have traditionally had more power in decision-making. Equal partnership fosters closeness between husband and wife, resulting in a stronger and happier marriage. Spouses feel better about themselves and each other, which makes them more likely to share their thoughts and feelings. This greater emotional intimacy leads to greater physical intimacy, an important element of a happy marriage. It creates a sense of stability in their marriage, less conflict, less dependency, and less resentment. Research shows that having an equal say in decision making is the most important contributor to wives’ perception of their marriages as happy and satisfying. Wives are happier when their husbands appreciate them for the work they do in the home and when their husbands are copartners in home matters. They feel better about themselves, are less angry or depressed, feel their relationship is more fair, and are more happy with their marriage.
All couples can do more to work toward creating an equal partnership. The following suggestions center on housekeeping, childcare, and decision-making.
- Share more routine household tasks. When men are willing to pick up more of these routine tasks rather than relegating most of them to women, they help create a more equal partnership.
- Work as a team. Wives who are dissatisfied with the division of labor in the home often say they feel lonely and lack companionship. When wives and husbands work together as a team, without hierarchy or a "me helping you do your work" attitude, marital happiness increases. Do dishes together. Attack the front room together with one person dusting while the other vacuums. Wash the car together and throw in a sudsy water fight.
- Avoid "gatekeeping." Researchers have coined the term "gatekeeping" for behavior that prevents men and women from working as team on household tasks and child care. For example, some husbands insist that only they know how to mow and trim the lawn properly. To reduce gatekeeping, meet together as a couple (include children where appropriate), make a detailed list of all the household chores, and decide on an arrangement for sharing housework that works for everyone. Make assignments, demonstrate and train as necessary, and set up a time to review how things are going. Have reasonable standards and give every family member the freedom to live up to those standards in his or her own way.
- Talk about how you divide up housework. Take the time to talk about how chores are divided up and how each feels about the equality of the division. Express appreciation, listen sympathetically, and make decisions together. These actions will build a sense of fairness in your marriage, which in turn will make your marriage stronger and happier.
- Express appreciation. Everyone needs to feel appreciated for the things they do. Family scholars note that when couples argue about domestic work, it is seldom over who does what. More often it is over feeling unappreciated for one’s efforts. Most spouses disagree about who does what and how much. Typically wives think they do more than their husbands say they do, and husbands think they do more than their wives give them credit for. To help ease these differences, express appreciation for what your spouse does do.
- Avoid making important decisions independently. Marriages are happier for both husbands and wives when each has an equal say in important decisions, such as where the family lives, how to rear the children, and how money is spent. Don’t make these important decisions without fully discussing them with your spouse. In the financial area, some couples set an amount of money above which they won’t spend without first consulting the other.
- Share child care responsibilities. Children benefit when both fathers and mothers are actively involved in their lives. Research shows that mothers and fathers have independent effects on their children, so when only one parent is actively involved the child misses out. For instance, mothers are more likely than fathers to act as a child’s social coach, helping them learn how to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Fathers more than mothers tend to play rough-and-tumble with their children. Children need both of their parents—let them have you.
@GG, you hit the nail in the head! Well put.
When marriage don't work killing each other is not solutions. There is solutions to every problem. Just seek help. Also walk away when things get heated instead of fighting. Respect is key in every marriage.
For thousands of years, marriages have been ok, or almost ok until in the last 50 years or so here in the west. During these hundreds of years, men were the chief breadwinners in their families and all was ok. About 50 years ago, women decided to wage war on the status quo when the feminist movement was born. This movement has done a lot of good for womenfolk except in one realm - family and marriage. Why - because the whole shift in values as regards the institution of marriage is anti-nature. Men have been commanded to lead and the idea of two centers of power in the same household will NEVER succeed. The male species is wired to "dominate" and it is next to impossible to achieve what some call equality in all marriages. As more and more women seek the ever elusive equality in all spheres, the more their relationships collapse. This is an unprecedented experiment in a vital human institution that is bound to fail. And its failing already at an incredible speed
l don't see any winners here, neither men nor women will be any happier. Actually, women will be generally left worse off, just look at the African American community where over 60% of women aren't married. lt is no mean feat to raise a family when you are single and research has confirmed that kids raised in such dysfunctional settings more often than not turn out to be dysfunctional themselves. Here's an illustration: a single mom is raising two boys and a daughter single-handedly. Most of her neighbors are single parents as well. This means that these boys, together with others in the neighborhood, lack men role models to teach them valuable life-skills such as personal responsibility, hard work, persistence, goal-setting and focus and a myriad other manly traits that are important for a man to function normally in society. These boys grow up not used to seeing a man working hard to put food on the table, for example, and they never take life seriously. Eventually, the best they can be is to sleep around and impregnate girls whom they will never marry and the cycle continues. The women hurt emotionally from abandonment and the heavy responsibility of hustling through life alone with no helper
Some argue that African men come to the west and are unable to adjust. My question is: adjust to an already messed up situation where marriage and family are already in their death throes? Who said that the western concept of marriage and family is the correct one? Has anyone dared to do some research on the ills facing marriage and family in the wider American context? This is fallacy, and those who believe so suffer from an inferiority complex which renders them to believe that anything white or western is necessarily the standard/ ideal. This is pure hogwash and those who take this line of argument can go tell it to the birds!
l foresee a future where marriage, by and large, will be a fossilized institution and if that will guarantee peace and happiness for all parties, l am all for it
Otherwise, my advice to men is to go for family-ambitious women (not career/money-ambitious) and love them as much as they can then work as hard as possible and the rest of their lives will be one long stretch of bliss. lf you end up with a partner who is too much career/money oriented, you will live to rue the day you were born and the faster you take to the hills, the better, at least to preserve some peace of mind
I need some advise on how to deal with a spouse problem.i am in california .i have not seen my spouse in 3 years.The last 1 year i have not had contact with her.How can i go about finding her without putting her in more trouble? 661 472 5469.My spouses name is esther nyambura we were last together at bakersfield califonia on 10/24/2010.Anyone with information please call me or email me.thanks.
Woman be submissive to your husband. Husband love ur wife. Without following these 2 we r doomed. Listen to Joel Osteen 'Healthy Families'.
Thanks to all those articles about african men and in particular kenyans in Diaspora.They are insights into some difficulties people encounter abroad.
However my appeal for anybody with information about the whereabout of esther nyambura wainaina is still there and any information to enable me to reach or communicate with her will be appreciated.My number is 661-472-5469.We are in USA and we live in california.We have 3 adult children and I have tried to communicate by phone ,by text and send a pastor to help trace her with no help.I get no answer. The reason i bring this issue to the open is because of all the above articles which are explaining the reasons why kenyans come to USA and have marriage problems,fights and separations and killings and all bad things as reported above.My guess is she could be living with a friend and there is no reason why she or i could not communicate if only by phone to know where each one is. But we somehow cannot communicate?
Thanks for keeping the articles about diaspora kenyans.I have not yet met my spouse.however,I do see some text messages through a phone number that is not her's in the first week of october 2013.This phone number is 6613439789.The persons texting me are purporting to be known to me and to know the wrongs i allegedly did to my spouse and telling me that i have to change.But when i ask the actual wrongs and dates they were done they are not able to say.These i am writing because of writers who rush to explain how a husband was an abuser of a spouse when something goes tragically wrong.I will update these information after i see new developments if at all.
Thanks for this opportunity to make an appeal about my spouse.Any person who knows the whereabouts of Esther Nyambura Muraguri please call me 661 472 5469.Esther Nyambura'S Number is 661 472 3413.She is probably at bakersfield area.The Last time i saw her was 10/24/2010 at bakersfield walmart where we went to buy her personal items.I was moving to work at corona city and offered her to come with me.But she said she will not go to corona.I assumed that she was to stay with her many friends at bakersfield.That was a big suprise but i decided to struggle and stay on the job at Corona.Probably on advice of her friends ester stopped answering my calls but would text.The texts conterd on allegations of abuse,that have schizophrenia,that i am breaking my family,and that i take all my money to my family and so on.All these are not true.I am so busy with 3 sometimes 4 jobs that i would not have any benefit to abuse anybody in family or outside family.Most likely she was hosted by a friend or good samaritan when she stayed away from her husband.They may have decided to cook some lies of abuse.But i forgive them and ask them hosts to let her be free to rejoin her family.I love her,i love my family and will do anything to make life better for all of them.So folks help free ester from her present secretive confinement by whoever is staying with her.She will need counselling and pyschological support in my view.My number is 661 472 5469.