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Most people born and raised in Nairobi grew up feeling sorry for their shags (country) relatives. We pitied them for the torn clothes they wore and lack of shoes. Those were pre-mitumba (used clothes) days so people from shags looked the part. The shags cousins worked hard jobs like picking coffee,tea, digging, milking cows and walking for miles to get firewood.
Some of the most successful diaspora Kenyans are the ones who grew up in shags. Most Kenyans that I know with PhDs grew up in shags. Unfortunately most cant get a job lecturing because American students complain that they cant understand their accents. You cant tell a person from shags by how they dress, but the moment they start speaking, the fluency with how they speak English while shrubbing gives them away. They have a confidence about them that says America is an equalizer.
Shags raised diaspora people are hardworking, have perseverance, drive and ambition. Some have been in America for less than 5 years and have built their parents stone houses in Kenya, built rental properties, joined saccos, bought plots, and grade cows. Plus bought property in America. Talk about diversification. The shags people I know, work more than one job because of the different projects they are working on. Theyll say random stuff like "I told God that if he ever brought me to America, I will work hard." or some will say "work is not a disease." Whatever that means..
Most Nairobi born diaspora Kenyans are generally lazy. Yes, I said it. They live for the here and now. Parties, drinking, Vegas Rugby. They only work more than one job when going on a vacation to Kenya,or to buy a new big screen T.V., or when saving for a down payment on a new car. Nairobians in America start school and dont complete because its too hard to get to school in the snow, in the rain, when its hot. The tests are multiple choice instead of essays, their parents want them to study engineering instead of art and a myriad of other excuses. When faced with hardship they lack resilience. Theyve never learned the value of hard work or problem solving.
The most successful business people in Kenya right now were raised in shags. They learned cooperation, thinking out of the box, teamwork and perseverance when faced with hardship.
If a shags relative wins a green card, help them get to America. Pay fees for a kid deep in the village. Be nice to your shags relatives. In America you will be equal. Nairobi parents, let your kids get their first degree in Kenya. Life will be too difficult for some of them in American Universities. If your College age child doesnt have the work ethic of your Ushago relatives, how do you expect them to succeed in America?
By Hannah Wanjiku, Orange County, California.
Hannah, I do not seek to refute your obviously non-researched piece but I'd like you to dig further before you come up with such generalizations. I'm Nairobi born and raised, with no single relative in what you call shags. I'm wealthy by all means and I have worked extra hard all my life. I have inherited zero. One time I made the same assumption you are making here and married a shags girl believing she'd be more hard working but I have never been so wrong. Eventually we parted ways coz in her mind, she had "arrived" and could no longer see the need to hassle and make it big. There are some rural raised folks whose work ethic is worse than that of a sloth and I meet them everyday. Hardwork and resultant success are a function of much broader factors than where you were raised.
For once Iphone G umeneena on the " sijui I went to which "high school ", lived where, hang out where etc.. Now that I agree it exists and I have heard it so many times than I care to remember even with my friends. That's what we called Petho back in the day ha ha ...
"Hard work never killed anybody" Really? How many folks have we sent back to Kenya as cargo after working doubles in hard, back-breaking and low paying jobs? Not that it's a bad thing to work such jobs but it's important to know that overdoing it can cause I'll health and sometimes death. Amongst other reasons, it's the main culprit behind elevated cases of lifestyle diseases amongst Kenyans in the US. How many people have quietly died in their sleep, young people for that matter? If you overdo anything, however good it is, just know it can have adverse consequences.
I agree with you 20%. Just to correct you not everybody in Nairobi is rich and not everybody from ushago is poor. Parents play a big role in what children will become. Those who parents encouraged them work hard and did not let them be idle do much better in their lifes. Those whose parents spoiled them have a hard time especially if they did not perform well academically. Imagine somebody who has never worked in their life from Nairobi/Ushago working 2 jobs in USA or ma-doubles. It takes time to adjust. Another thing is whether you come from poor or rich family. Those who come from poor families have school fees and other basic necessities to provide to their relatives back at home and are forced by circumstance to work harder.
Most misguided article ever. Nairobi Folk whom I know in the Diaspora are the most hardworking crew, I included, so Hannah I dont know where you see those lazy Nairobians. The reason why there is rampant Tribalism in the diaspora is because most folk with Green Cards are from Ushago and they came with the tribe and mashambani mentality imported from the village. Nairobians learned to live with other tribes due to integration but the ushago folk can easily be identified by hanging out in small groups talking their language and to make matters worse, they now speak upgraded english with ushago accents (twenging*). I never knew or even thought about tribe until I stepped in the Diaspora, mind you I lived and schooled with over 40 tribes. Most of them hate the "Jamhuri" with a pasion because they never got a taste of the good "Nairobi life" but they dread the idea of going back to mashambani. like iPhoneG. Thats why some get intimidated when people talk about which neighbourhoods or schools they went to.
For your info, most Nairobi youth in the diaspora are actually on student visa's and a lot of them end up returning back to the jamhuri to work in great companies due to connections they have or they end up managing family businesses at home. I wont deny that some Ushago folk have worked really hard and are successful, but you can identify them as easily as Githeri from rice by their mannerisms.
Ha ha intimidated by Alliance , Kenya High, Upper, Strath, St Mary's etc... I Know I did better with first class honors at KU than 90% of the "petho schools" - yeah my parents decided that chags was where my youth was going to take shape and I have no regret they did that. .There is one thing to be proud of the school that shaped you and made you who you are today, it is another to use that name to be considered better /special breed. And what IPHONEG was talking about is the latter . Some of the quiet wealthy folks I know , who have done great things philanthropic and otherwise in Kenya right now are chags mondo with their thick accent( if that is even a problem to anyone) . They may have not returned to Muthaiga or is it Buru, BUT they are doing great things even when most of that is not highlighted.
P/S Curious Lady - I'm not a chags mondo but I love that I got to enjoy my vacations in chags mondo as with open sapace and adventure , made me a curious being and lucky for me I can mingle with either /or without feeling I'm better than "them" but what the writer has highlighted albeit with no hard facts /statistics is true to some extent. I do also know how to mingle with all tribes called kenyans whether from Nairobi or not.
A note to Mwakilishi - is there a way your template can be customized to have editing options for grammer etc once a comment is posted?
Most ignorant article that I have ever read. What I saw while living in the USA is that regardless of whether you were from Ushago or Nairobi, if you worked hard, you made it. What matters most is what drives a person, not everyone goes to the USA so that they can work those odd jobs or whatever else to build a house or gain material wealth and anyway, is material wealth so important that a whole senseless article has to be written on which group accumulates it the most? Just shows how the materialism of the USA has brainwashed the author. Next time write an article that actually talks about something substantial.
There are so many misguided generalisations and assumptions in both the article and responses to it, that it is near impossible to even respond to either. To say that " Most people with green cards are from shags" is probably not true ( unless you define Shags as " anywhere but Nairobi").
To say that most people from Nairobi are lazy is false. You couldn't possibly prove that if you were asked to.
To say that most people from shags are hardworking is also false.
A lot of this is just one's perspective. I probably know as many Kenyans with Phd's who went to school and grew up in shags as those that grew up in urban/tao. I know successful businessmen and women who grew up in Nai, Mombasa, Naks, Kisumu etc, and I also know of very successful doctors and engineers who grew up in Bumala and Oloitok Tok.
Conversely, I know of some Nai/Naks/Mombao/ Kanyadhian'g/ Mumias folks that are wasting away having achieved little in life. It has less to do with where they grew up or were born and more to do with other factors in life.
Baring some sort of scientific research or polling, all this remains just a matter of perspective. The vase either has a glass-siding or an open-top, depending on where you are looking at.
It's all about perspective.
Wanjiku has a point. Nairobians are generally wierd. There is this chick from a well off family in Nairobi, went to Kenya high but came out with a D+. To cut to the chase, i had attempted to hit on her once when she came visiting the shags with her family but she rejected me flat out. She was like, "you are a shags boy!" Fast forward, a few years later we meet in the streets of Nairobi when i was in campus and i inquire on how life was treating her. The chick without hesitation, with that Nai corny accent, she was like "you know i got a D+ but i was in Kenya High." That day i swore Nairobi was not for me. The heavy diesel fumes of Nairobi can turn normal humans into human-like wield creature.
Wanjiku umeongea gabisa.We know akina who drives top of the range
n they have nothing nyumbani after many yrs in diaspora but age is kicking n cat
tching up with them.Wanjiku n for thoz with phd here in Kenya lectures n tutors
r getting good money n r leaving beta life than lectures in the diaspora so
we welcome them back n bring the experience here to the students.East or
west home is the best