Thursday, 22 November 2007


Its about time I made my maiden post.
Contrary to popular belief, I am neither a man, nor the 'iron lady' that some have loved to see. I would describe myself as a down-to-earth kind of person. More down than to-earth at this moment in time.Let me explain;

I came to the U.S. slightly more than two years ago.Not to chase the American dream (I would be thrilled to catch it, nevertheless) but in the belief that I would be better armed to fight Kenya's and/or part of Africa's battle against poverty. I had been admitted to a Business School that was ranked among the top 50 in the U.S. at the time I was doing my research. Two years, three months, several internships and an MBA down the line, I still haven't found my dream position in international development consulting. I am made to understand that it is a difficult area to break into especially in the city I'm living in, with all the great schools producing experts in international development. Its unbelievable how educated people are around here
The biggest complication is that I am not a U.S. citizen, so I need H1B (work)visa sponsorship so as to be able to work here legally past some time in '08. As it turns out, I would have to possess exceptional skills that are rare to find in people who have no visa issues in order to get past an entry level position. For an entry level position in the organizations I have my eyes on, there are more than enough candidates with the kind of skills and experience that are needed to get in. I want to tell anyone who cares that I have close to thirty years of first hand experience in poverty in 'Africa', and now I have the necessary skills to fight it. I am waiting for the first offer to go back to Kenya/Africa and work for your organization on a local salary and on your own terms. Any takers?

In the mean time, I am doing non-professional work to get the $$. It actually has potential to lead to something big(ger), only not in my career of choice, and not for a few more months. One of the things I love about this country is that due to the great health of the economy- even with the housing market cooling off, its still the best economy in the world-you can almost be guaranteed to make a living. I have been evaluating my options:

#1: Obviously I can pack up any time and go back to Kenya when my OPT visa expires. But what are the chances that I will get my dream professional job? How will I get by while 'tarmacking'?

Option no.2: My friends, some of them 'undocumented' are advising is me to sort everything out by falling in love. I'm too proud to hand my freedom (and $$) to someone just like that. To which they answer: wewe kaa tu hapo na hiyo pride yako.

Option 3: Just stay bila makaratasi. But men, don't I hate the attitude illegals generate around here.I don't even want to imagine being one of 'them'. To which they ask: Unataka kukaa hapa na job bila makaratasi, au kwenda nyumbani ukakae bila job?

Option 4: Join the military. I'm actually told that U.S. citizenship is no longer a requirement they will sort it out for me.

Option 5: Nursing. I would be assured of a job as a nurse's aide even before I start going to school. After school my papers would be sorted out and I would be legally employed especially to take care of the baby boomers. Swali ni; yaani nimekuja mbali hivyo just to fulfil some gender-based stereotypical job of a caretaker? The pride, stupid!
Sub-Option no 5: I can get a bachelors or masters degree in nursing and combine it with my MBA, get practical experience here bila wasi wasi and return home to manage some health-care facility. I think I just had my light-bulb moment.


steven said...

Hi, Kenya Pride,
I'd suggest you keep your pride. Its one of those things you will look back in life and be proud of.

Many have gone down that route to get the GD and later in life realize the mistake but can never roll back. Barrack Obama is a product of it and I bet he feels cheated.

Solution, be good at what you do. It does not matter where you do it. Then God will do the the rest.

Leeosis said...

HMMMM... very interesting situation you are in. From a top 50 university you should be able to keep up with the pressure, the states as id Imagine(compared to the UK) is an easier place to get a job. Iv been to agencies here always looking to recruit UK graduates (bila an MBA) to entry level jobs in the States.It took me a long time,perseverance,effort, money n focus etc to get a job and permit in the UK...etc give your all, you seem to be a very smart lady. I do wish you all the best in whatever you choose to do. Make and YOU HAVE MORE THAN PRIDE.......ooh pia companies like Standard Chat always look for overseas grads to employ

PGkay said...

Hi, Nice to read an open and very intimate blog.

I cant say I am doing better, I am based in Finland, - have set up an NGO that has funding from the GOVT of Finland to support projects in Kenya. We now have two projects - on Poverty from the dimension of Forestry and Policies and one Energy - The Energy project just got funded and will run for two years. We also have a pending proposal with WB. I See the energy project as an enterprise which a person with MBA and creativity can drive - whether based in Kenya or US or wherever- think Climate Change- Wind Energy and the proposed UN REDD. - read more from our sites - and look for the project RESCUE. Take care - Peter -

Anonymous said...

lee is right...i think in US is way easier than UK...just give it your best...but dont forget your pride and happiness, dont compromise that, sometimes i dont get how pple can stoop so low to get the so~called makaratasi...which even dont help sometimes...

Maua said...

Hi Kenyan Pride
It is good to know that I'm not alone in this. After almost 16 yrs in UK, I'm still makaratasiless. I refused to fall in love for conveniences, I refused to do care and nursing (God, I hate nursing) and I refused to seek asylum just for the sake of makaratasi. My parents were in the forces, and even after so many years of civil service, they could not afford to pay my fees after the first year. Like you, I was advised to do all the wrong courses in order to earn the ££. I would like to believe that I'm the the most qualified jack of all trades. I have done secretarial, business admin, photography, filming, marketing, bsiness management and I even tried accounting. With all these qualifications, I still could not afford an MBA fees, and I ended up with an MA in Manageent, why not, the fees was 80% cheaper, but I'm still the most qualified clinic clerk in London. A few yrs ago, I'd have packed to Kenya, but I have a son to think of before any radical decisions. I'm 40 this year, but I'm still hopeful. At times I doubt if there is any pride left in me.

Is there any hope out there?

rosy said...

Hi Kenyan pride.
Your pride is your weapon.cheers.

Taabu said...

PKW pride is one irreplaceable asset. Chat your own path and don't lose sight of the big price. Focus is the key. Comparisons will only succeed in depressing you. Stay proud and trust me you wont shed a tear. There is no manual to successful living anywhere on this planet and even in the US of A opportunities are scarce and far in between not the land of opp of the 1980s anymore. My advice: stay the course with pride and remain focussed. You can do ODD things to keep yourself a float lest the vultures there prey on you and your pride vanishes. Minium mbesha to survive is a MUST to keep the soul going-no opulence

Maua said...

A friend advised me to volunteer with a charity in the Non Executive Board (Trustee). He suffered the same virus. This went onto his CV, and thank God he was 'discovered' by one of the directors 2 yrs ago. He's doing good. I'm trying this.

He's doing an MBA now.

Maua said... check this out. will be closing down in 3 days.