Whenever we hear of Kenyans living abroad we always imagine them leading a life of luxury. I live in an apartment which is owned by a Kenyan living in America and know a number of other such apartments all around Ruaka. You only get to meet a House Manager and only know the owner’s names from the rent bank deposit slip. Up Country, there are those homes that people will point out to you as they tell you that baba Kamau’s son in the States is the one who built the house. There are places where young people have only one dream; to fly out. I once visited a Coastal town where I kept hearing this phrase, ‘Huyo alibarikiwa akapata mzungu hadi wakaenda ng’ambo.’
We imagine that foreign countries can offer us more than what Kenya can. In some cases, this has proven true and there are many Kenyans who have found amazing opportunities abroad. Contrary to popular belief about the kind of jobs that immigrants do, many Kenyans have built careers and are living quite comfortably. However, not everyone living abroad is living the dream. In No More Tears by Atieno Mzuri, gives you other side of the story that we don’t get to hear often. Atieno’s is a story of an immigrant struggling to survive and fighting to stay in America at all costs.
I found No More Tears in an online group where the author had shared it for free. Curiosity got the better of me and I quickly went through the 214 pages in just one evening. It was an easy captivating read, well paced and fast moving hence quite the page turner.The book is based on the life of Atieno,a Kenyan girl who leaves the country and heads to United States of America in search of a new and prosperous life. She has big dreams of what she wants to achieve in America and already has made plans on how to spend the fortune that she will make. One of her main plans is to take care and provide for her daughter and her parents and build them a house. Her family also has expectations and so they expect to start receiving dollars from her to help them improve their living situation. Unfortunately, Atieno quickly realizes that the American dream does not come that easily especially for illegal immigrants. Despite having a Masters Degree from Kenya, she realizes that her ‘papers’ will not help her much in America. Atieno learns that she needs to become a citizen and one of the ways to acquire this status and avoid getting deported is by getting married.
No More Tears by Atieno Mtoto Mzuri is mainly about her search for a husband in an effort to get citizenship. It will shock you and also break your heart when you learn the things that she went through during her search. It will also change your view of the life abroad. So often we assume that everyone who flies out ends up living it up in the land of milk and honey but turns out that not everyone gets to do this. You will be surprised when she starts talking about living in a house with no water and making trips to fetch water in America. It will also surprise you to learn how much people are willing to exploit the desperation of others in this case, an an illegal immigrant, deportation was constantly used to threaten her.
There are also light moments in Atieno’s story that will have you smiling. The book will have you on a roller coaster wondering whether Atieno will succeed, find love in the process or end up being deported after all.
Atieno shared the pdf version of her book online and that is how i got it. I hope to read more books from this new author.