‘Counties ndogo’ and taking local names abroad

You might wonder what Perth in Australia and Eldoret in Uasin Gishu have in common. We are certainly not confusing the view of undulating tea plantations, for the ocean view and sandy beaches.

Perth, a sunny city in Western Australia, with soft sandy beaches and scenic views from its landscapes has proved to be of great interest particularly to the Kalenjin community abroad. The legacy of the Total Man, whose years the University of Melbourne set up ties that airlifted many of his kith and kin to Australia.

They form a part of a larger community,  estimated at three million Kenyans  living and working abroad in search for education, economic opportunity outside Kenya whose debt fueled economy has left very little in the hands of a majority of its people.

Kenyans abroad are characteristic of being a closely knit over the sound of Swahili or thought of nyama choma in the same foreign land/city near you gives you some sense of warmth and remembrance from home.  

Some try to hold dear to the long connection with their hometowns, counties, cities you name them and since they can’t carry it with them, they decide to recreate it where they are.  This has become a common scene now globally with places abroad getting local names owing to the presence of a great number of Kenyans from certain local communities present there. 

The Kalenjin community in Australia has numbers ranging over 10,000 with most of them being in Perth and “having direct ties to their folks in Eldoret” says Stephen Sitinei, who is the president of all Kalenjins in Australia.

The community there recently held the annual Kitwek event. They sold out all the tickets for the cultural event in Western Australia and even crowned one of their own to become an elder of the community in the diaspora.

In the United States, Minnesota, an upper midwestern state has runaway with the crown of Kisii ndogo. The state alone is home to over 20,000 Kenyans, a large number coming from the Abagusii community. They’ve  formed a community there known as “Mwanyagetinge” which is the largest organized Kenyan group in Minnesota.

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The community here  is comfortable and well settled in to the extent that one of them, Huldah Momanyi vied for a Senatorial seat in the Minnesota parliament in the 2022 elections. That requires a whole lot of confidence and guts and an attempt for an office in the parliament clearly shows they’re well on course in Minnesota.

Still in the United states, a lot of Kenyans reside in the areas of Texas, Southern California, Massachusetts, and greater Washington, D.C. As of 2018 a Bloomberg report said an estimated 120,000 Kenyans live and work in the US. A great number of them are said to be in  the state of Texas, the highest concentration being in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where 7,715 are said to reside.

A great number of the population in Texas is perceived to be from the Kikuyu community thus nicknaming it the new Kiambu contrary to the cool Kiambu climate, Texas is quite warm. A great similarity the two have is their love for nyama choma, barbeques and grilling which is a culture well appreciated in Texas. 

The Middle East, particularly Dubai has also been another great destination hosting over 40,000 Kenyans living and working in the UAE.

Kenyans are an industrious lot and are out there in foreign lands making communities and being big enough to even afford the  foreign cities local nicknames nicknames.

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