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Numbers waiting to return keep growing

Thursday May 28 2020
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The support from the Baptist community in Kenya and the one here was overwhelming. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DIANA NDINDA

Yesterday, I told you how ecstatic I was when I learnt that there was a WhatsApp group rallying stranded Kenyans like me, who were yearning to go home.

Not only did I learn that there was a group, but I also joined it. The relief of being in a community of Kenyans brought together by a similar goal was indescribable. I felt at home. I no longer felt as if I was alone in the world.

I could tell from the number of people requesting that their friends be added to the group that we were quite a number.

From that moment on, I began checking my phone every few minutes for any progress. Every new text message brought with it renewed hope of going home soon. The new additions to the group and a few familiar names also gave me confidence.

I would excitedly share with my family and friends every time there was a new development. And sounding even more excited than I was, they would encourage me to hang in there because like me, they could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

By this time, my church back in Kenya, Kahawa West Baptist Church, where I sing in the choir, had learnt of my plight and had got in touch with the Baptist community here in Lagos and requested them to offer me any help they could rally.

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The support from the Baptist community in Kenya and the one here was overwhelming. They prayed for me, called and texted me and even contributed money to support me.

CHRISTIAN FAMILY

The comfort of having my church community organising prayers specifically for me and even fasting so that a way could soon be found for me to return continued to encourage me.

Different people would check on me and even offer to visit, but we agreed that social distancing was important to prevent possible exposure to coronavirus.

As if this support was not enough, many from the Baptist community here in Nigeria were willing to host me in their homes.

Unfortunately, they lived in other towns, and due to the government regulations, I couldn’t travel there.

This wholesome and unconditional support from individuals that I had never met showed me just how important being an active member of a church community is.

Meanwhile, the numbers in the group grew, with the admins regularly updating the list. With each new name, the joy in my heart was palpable.

The sole aim of the group was to rally as many numbers as possible, and everyone who knew a stranded Kenyan would contact them and have them join us.

By the evening of May 21, we hit the 50 mark. The celebration in the group came alive with everyone ready to pack their bags in preparation for the long-awaited trip home.

The effort to put Kenyans stranded in Nigeria together, which had started on April 1, was finally starting to bear fruit.

As I write this, we are at 67 and growing, and we can’t be happier as we look forward to coming home.

Ms Ndinda is Research Manager, Transform Research Africa Ltd. She is stuck in Nigeria, where she has been since March 21. MONDAY: Our representatives, who are in talks with KQ and the Kenyan Embassy in Nigeria, inform us that the repatriation process had been initiated, but will take about two weeks.

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