Milly Nduta grew up in Nairobi. She reckons that her childhood was fun, but this in no way prepared her for the experiences she would have to navigate later in life.
Milly emigrated to the United States of America in 2004 and has lived in Atlanta, Georgia for 15 years. As she reflects on her journey from Kenya to Germany and then to America, it is evident Milly is living her dreams.
African Warrior Magazine caught up with Milly to ask her the following questions and to hear more of her Diaspora story.
Where did you go to school in Kenya, and at a young age, what did you want to accomplish later in life?
At first, my mom thought it was best to take me to a high school in Murang’a because I was a trouble maker! Sure, I did cause some trouble and was suspended twice. I hated the school so I did not care much. Eventually I joined Maxwell Adventist Academy (an American school) for my high school and I loved it. It actually changed me in so many ways. The American system was easier than the Kenyan 8-4-4 system. We weren’t expected to memorize coursework from the beginning of the school year; just one chapter at a time. We received a quiz or a test and never saw the material again. Also, the food was amazing – we had all kinds of food; like chapati, burgers and fries, cereal in the morning, salads, fruits
What did Milly want to be in life? I truly didn’t know at that time. All I wanted was independence.
When did you migrate to United States of America. Was it with family, or what was the inspiration?
I remember talking to my friends: Diana, who lived in Dallas, and Ciku, in Atlanta. They motivated me to find a way to move to America. At that time I was in Germany and through Diana, I met a guy called Murai who played a big role helping me transition to America.
I moved to Atlanta in 2004 and I have been there since then. I attempted to move to Seattle last year (2018). I quit my job, sold my house, packed and moved to Seattle. This move did not last long as three weeks later, I realized my heart was firmly in Atlanta. That is how I moved back to Atlanta and started all over again. Within one month, I bought my second home.
Are you comfortable talking about your marital status? If yes, are you still together with the father of your twin daughters?
Yes I have twin daughters.
I once had fallen in love. What happened is a fairy tale story. Girl meet boy. Boy sweeps girl off her feet. They fall in love, get married and expect to live happily ever after. The End.
Then one day, my eyes were opened to the reality of the situation and I was forced to choose between what’s best for my children and I. I could no longer fight for a man unworthy of my love.
I met my ex-husband (also a Kenyan native) in Las Vegas in 2010. He was everything I wanted in a man and then some. Then our love train suffered an initial setback when he was deported in 2012. I was determined to make us work. No one wants the ‘love of their life’ living thousands of miles away, but all relationships have their challenges. For me, this would be the ultimate test to see if our love could withstand this obstacle. If we succeeded, I knew we would be unstoppable.
We got married in 2013 and in 2014 I was pregnant. I just didn’t know God wanted me to have two babies! Everything was going well until I found out he had a 17 month-old daughter. At that time my girls were 3 months old. Sadly, while we were working through everything, he was seeing another woman. I was still trying to keep us together including filing his paperwork so that he could return to America. It seemed that wasn’t good enough for him. Meanwhile, his other woman would send me insults, threats, pictures, and even tried to get me in trouble with the Interpol.
All this led to a whirlwind of drama and I had to say Enough!! He had his own insecurities that had nothing to do with me. At this point I needed to do what was best for me and my children. I broke things off and never looked back again.
Through it all, my two daughters have been my greatest inspiration. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing! The lessons I experienced are what made me who I am today. Moving forward, I am better equipped to notice red flags with men as they subtly appear. I also place a stronger value on my self-worth, where I will not tolerate anything less than what I know I deserve. As women we are programmed to be nurturers. But we need to learn to nurture and give without becoming depleted, and give without losing ourselves in the process. God has great plans for me and I can’t wait.
How is it raising two daughters on your own?
It’s simply life. I am fortunate enough to have a strong support system which helped me during the infancy stage of their lives. I had a roommate who was more like a mother to me and also had a nanny, but I managed to create a routine which I still abide by to this day and it works phenomenally. Being a single mom is not burdensome or a chore. Would it be easier if there were two of us? I’m sure it would be! But at the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do and I’ve chosen to be the best mother I can and make sure my daughters have all they need and desire.
Which college did you attend and what did you study?
I got my associate degree at Chattahoochee Technical College which really opened the doors to the accounting world. After receiving my Associates, I attended the University of Colorado where I obtained my BA in Accounting and continued to obtain my MBA in Business Administration.
What was your first job in America?
My very first job was in a department store where I worked for 2.5 months. I hated it! I had to counsel myself to look at the bigger picture and more my priorities and what I ultimately wanted to accomplish in life. So, I shifted my focus and shifted industries.
What do you currently do? Please take us through your climb?
I am currently in Finance for an economic development (Quasi-government agency). How I got here was an interesting journey but may sound a lot like many folks out there.
Initially, my heart was in Information Technology (IT). But after expressing this to my student advisor, I was encouraged to go into accounting. The IT industry was not what it is today and with the little knowledge of it’s potential, I was advised (in love) to take a career path that offered more “security”. I obliged and have been in Accounting ever since.
I would say, although the accounting career has sustained me and supported my children and I; if I could do it all over again I would definitely follow my heart’s desire- IT. What God has placed in your heart is for you and not necessarily for those around you (including your family and those that have your best interests at heart). Sometimes, if you share your God given dreams and visions with someone that is not privy to what God has placed in you, they will tend to view it from a place of logic/rationale instead of the divine direction it is. They would then tend to advise you from their experiences or what was instilled in them, not realizing that it has nothing to do with your reality. Maybe one day I will go back to IT, who knows?!
Are you dating anyone? What do you look for in a man?
I am not dating. The type of man I am interested in would be one who knows how to treat/spoil a woman. I am also attracted to men that have something to offer; mentally, emotionally and financially. I need a man with ambition, that does not get comfortable with himself, but is always looking to better themselves and will push for us to upgrade our lives as well.
As far as the traits and qualities – I like men who are tall, dark, work out, clean cut and financially stable. Please do NOT offer me Netflix and hanging out
What does Stacey Abrams mean seeing that she almost became your Governor?
Stacey Abrams serves as a beacon of hope. She reminds us of the progress happening in America and pushes women (especially those of color) to strive for greater. She and Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Mayor of Atlanta, whom I have had the occasion to meet several times in my current job, are truly role models for us all.
What do you do for self improvement?
Learning new things and accepting challenges.
I’ve adopted the mentality – ‘If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger’ and ‘there is a lesson in everything’. I try to learn something new daily; whether it’s reading a new book, watching an informative video online, or watching a documentary with my daughters. As most Kenyans know, we place a very strong value on education and acquiring knowledge. We’ve heard this quote before – “Knowledge is power”. I want to take that a step further and say ‘Applied knowledge is power’; because having the knowledge solely is of no value until it is put into action.
What is your advice to Kenyans looking to America for the proverbial ‘American dream’?
To make the American dream a reality, you need to be self-motivated and adopt a go-getter mentality. There are no hand-outs when you get here. You must be willing to work hard to obtain what you want. Your work ethic, paired with an optimistic mentality, and action will bring you a wealth of success.
Future career plans?
In a few years I would like to transition into IT (software developer). Right now my daughters are my priority, but once they are a little older, and I have the opportunity to study I will go back to school to study IT.
My close friends call me Jaluo because they believe I have an expensive taste. What can I say, I appreciate great quality! That being said, my favorite car currently is the 2020 Mercedes Benz GLC3. I am open to accepting this as a Christmas gift, birthday gift or a ‘Just-Because-I’m-Awesome’ gift-LOL
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Can I say I’m weird?! I really don’t believe I have a favorite dish. I have adapted this eating clean habit so i can’t say beef stew or any kind of stew is my favorite because I rarely eat them. I love chapati but I try to stay away from them.
LOVE Bongo and Naija music, but of all “Nobody can stop reggae”
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