Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Kirichu: How I met desperate Kenyans working in Afghanistan

Kenyans are renowned for being hard workers. The lack of job opportunities in the country have tended to push many Kenyans outside the country. The middle east countries have been a common destination for many.

But some daring and desperate Kenyans have moved in search of work to dangerous places such as Iraq. Here, a Kenyan who was identified as Elijah Kirichu shares his experience after moving to Afghanistan and the many Kenyans he found there:

“I once worked in Afghanistan for a short mission in 2014 and was based in a small town near the Tajikistan border, almost 750 KMS North East of Kabul (Afghanistan Capital).

Thinking was the only black man in the hood. I got the biggest shock to come across a Kenyan girl from Kisumu who was working as an Air Hostess in the flight took to the nearby city of Fayzabad (yaani, an Air Hostess in Afghanistan, operating like between Nairobi and Marsabit, okay!).

Anyway, we became instant friends with Nyar Kisumo , but she also told me not to be surprised she works in Afghanistan. Actually, she told me the Kenyans working there were many, and I was like? How!!

True to her word, when I got into my destination and started my work, in a weeks time, I had come across over 15 Kenyans in that tiny town.

Those days WhatsApp wasn’t that popular, but one guy told me that there were almost 300 Kenyans in the vicinity working for different local or international agencies. This made me feel home far home

Since then, I have worked in different other countries in Africa, Oceania and Asia, either on Short Term missions or long term basis. But one of the most interesting thing have observed is the HIGH number of Kenyans working as Professionals and Experts outside the country!

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From my estimates, Kenya could be leading in exporting Skilled labour in the continent (I could be wrong). Other countries I have noted they have high number of expatriates includes Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ethiopia; but all rank behind Kenya in my analysis.

In my current duty station, the agency I work with has 14 expatriates but 4 are Kenyans. That’s almost 29%, mind you we have over 180 countries globally.

From Fiji to Papua New Guinea, from St. Helena to Vanuatu, from Haiti to Granada, from Tajikistan to Kazakhstan. You will find Kenyans working as expatriates.

Actually, I was checking with the Ministry of Labour, and they estimate that almost 4 Million Kenyans are working outside the country which is almost 16% of the Kenyan Population.

Remittances (money sent home/Kenya) has since become the major source of foreign exchange in Kenya, and in 2020, almost 300 Billion was sent to the country, an 11% growth from 2019.

Could this be because our Education System is Wonderful in producing Experts; or could it be because we have many trained Kenyans but limited opportunities at home?

You ask me the leading export for Kenya, I would comfortably say its LABOUR.”

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