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MWALIMU ANDREW: London trip shapes up as people opt out



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When I announced that I would soon be leading a high-powered delegation of the Who is Who of Mwisho wa Lami to London, some enemies of development laughed loudly, and added that the only London we would go to is an estate in Nakuru. I have good news for everyone, and bad news for the enemies of progress: The London trip is happening.

After waiting for eternity, three weeks ago, we received communication from our London benefactors that they had approved four of us (including Pius) to travel to London. Pius and I wrote back requesting that seven of us travel. As you know, besides Pius and I, Kuya, Anindo, Bensouda, Fiolina, Apostle Elkana, Nyayo and Mrs Kandia all wanted to go to London. Even my sister Caro and Alphayo were preparing, as was Rasto, Alphayo and Tocla, Fiolina’s brother.

Smiffy wrote back indicating they had allowed one more person. The trip will be in July, all expenses will be borne by them, and all we need is to have our passports. They said they will help us get Visas.

“Congratulations!” Pius sent me an SMS as soon as we got the approval. “Now the hard part begins; getting passports and visas.” I told him that was not the difficult part. The greatest headache was choosing three people from more than ten.

“That is so easy, Dre,” Pius said. “The visa application process will help you. Many will be denied.”

Pius suggested that I come to Nairobi so that we start the passports and visa process. The request could not have a come at a better time, for I had another important reason for wanting to be in Nairobi: Xtash. So I boarded a Nairobi-bound Msamaria Mwema the next morning.

Xtash was waiting for me when I alighted at around 3pm. She was happy to see me and hugged me tightly.

At her uncle’s house, she served me juice and groundnuts — lots of groundnuts. She then prepared Ugali and eggs, but I kept taking the groundnuts. It was around 7pm when we parted ways with Xtash, and I arrived in Syokimau — Pius’s place — just in time for the 9.00 o’clock news.

The next morning, we went to see a friend of Pius’s in town. He was at Nyayo House, where there was a long queue of people applying for passports. The guy kept walking around, to show everyone how well he was known. At an extra fee, he agreed to help us get passports within a week.

“But the other people are not here with us?” I told him. He linked us up with his friend in Kisumu, who he instructed to help our home troupe get passports.

Next, we went to Upper Hill. We were going to the UK High Commission offices to apply for visas. It was not an easy place to go as there were police officers and roadblocks everywhere. After waiting for a long time there, we were told that visa applications were being handled by another office in Westlands. It was too late to go Westlands the same day.

We were in Westlands early the next morning. After getting lost a few times, we got to the building we had been referred to.

“What time is your interview?” was the first question we were asked at the reception.

“Sorry, madam,” said Pius to the lady. “We are not looking for a job, we are all employed and happy.”

“I didn’t ask about your job, I am talking about the visa interview,” she clarified. Then she told us that we had to apply through the internet and pay, after which we would be called for interviews. She referred us to a cyber cafe that could help us do the application. We immediately went there and a young man helped us start the process. We had thought it was a straight-forward matter.

We had to open internet accounts and provide some information. They literally wanted to know everything and anything about us, so we could not have finished the same day. The young man sold us our e-mail passwords at Sh1,000 each so that we could continue later on, even from home. As such, I decided to travel back home that evening.

Once in Mwisho wa Lami, I contacted a former student of mine who has a laptop so that he could help with our visas.

“We never asked Smiffy how many cows he has back in London,” said Nyayo. “Why are they asking me how much land I own? Or if my wife is in employment?”

“Don’t tell them,” said Rasto. “That is how the white man took our land.”

Alphayo refused to put in the name of his wife, as he has three and there was space for only one.

As at last Friday, only Apostle Elkana, Bensouda, Anindo and Mrs Kandia were still in contention to go to London. The rest had fallen out, having found some of the questions too intrusive. Even Fiolina had changed her mind about travelling after a TV bulletin about an air crash. May be I should convince Xtash to join me in the  London trip!

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