While there are many success stories of Kenyans living abroad, some tell a different narrative of hardships, disappointment, and in worst scenarios; how life abroad pushed them to a dead end. Sadly, a Kenyan woman Joy Mukwanjero is among those who ended up living miserably despite living in the US for 21 years.
We are left to think whether life would have turned out any different had she stayed back in the county. However, Mukwanjero says that life happens and no one has a right to judge others for how their life turned out to be.
The middle-aged woman who now reportedly lives in the streets of Nairobi reveals how her party lifestyle and drug addiction while in the US pushed her to a slippery path that led her to lose her marriage and deportation back into the country.
In 1986, Mukwanjero relocated to the United States after completing her high school studies in Nairobi. She enrolled for computer competency classes. During her stay there, she lived with friends and relatives until she got a job which was cut short.
She later pursued political science while working in the hospitality industry in San Francisco where she met her ex-husband. Finding a balance between her job and studies was quite a challenge so she decided to drop out of University.
“I wanted to study political science. I really liked it. I was working during the day and going to school in the evening. When it proved to be too much for me, I dropped out and continued working, that’s where I met the now ex. That’s when I started partying” she said
According to Mukwanjero, her ex-husband introduced her to a party lifestyle which led to her drug addiction. She admits that this kind of life took a toll on her since she stopped being responsible and slowly she and her lover drifted.
The couple later separated and Joy relocated to California where her troubles began. Joy was deported back to Kenya in 2009 after Immigration officers found her without proper documents. Joy says that her detention was a blessing in disguise because she did not have access to alcohol or other drugs and this served as a detoxifying period for her.
On her return to Kenya, she tried to rebuild herself and was always on the lookout for opportunities but this was not a fruitful journey. With the desire to heal, she went to rehab and during her time there enrolled to be a Chemical Dependency Addiction.
“I tried to find work, I really tarmacked. It is not the same like before, I handed out my CV everywhere to no avail. I lived with relatives on and off” she stated
Joy later moved out on her own but says that she has been living like a homeless person. On whether her mother and siblings have supported her; she says that they did what they could but with time they drifted.
For the last 6 years, she settled for a menial job which involves landscaping of the business complex hosting Mahanaim Educational Institute. Amidst what feels like a miserable life, she maintains that she is still hopeful.
“I one day hope to get gainful employment where I am making enough money where I can find myself some place decent and live like normal people and get on with my life instead of living from hand to mouth” she stated
Joy says that she does not want to pin her ‘downfall’ on her addiction saying that there were other factors too. She concludes that her 21 years in the US did not necessarily go to waste since she equally had good times.