On Wednesday 4th March 2020, we made a round trip for two to the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC. This costed both of us about 320$. It included a daily parking fee at Jackson Hatfield 19$, flight ✈ ticket for two through BWI 229$, two train tickets round trip 28$, shared Lyft 10$, and two lunches plus carry on sandwiches and drinks at Chick-fil-A 28$.
Some hints: Plan the trip in detail and analyze the costs well. For us we figured out going by bus was going to be more expensive financially, time-wise and in fatigue. We then thought of driving ourselves by taking turns, but that too was going to be expensive factoring hiring, gas⛽ and other unforeseeable costs. Driving our old car there of-course was out of question.
Since we both share some common hobbies like traveling and adventure, we wanted the most convenient way at a minimal cost so that we could also spend meaningful time together. We only had a day off and wanted to kill as many birds 🦅 with it as possible. To have fun and make much out of our trip we decided to exhaust all our flying options. With the help of a couple of apps like Hopper, Fareboom, Skyscanner and Skiplagged which are all in your phone AppStore we were able to get a round trip ticket through BWI, then took a free metro connection to the train station. Flying through regional airports like Macon was also cheaper but because of distance from our residence it didn’t make sense.
It takes about 30-40 minutes from BWI to Union Station in DC which is about 2.8 miles to our Embassy. Since our appointment was at 11:00am, we rushed and grabbed a curb little did we know that, no one at the Embassy was going to bother with it. It is actually pointless to book an appointment because once you are there, you are all grouped together. Don’t expect your name to be called out. Once there kindly have a mind shift…allow your mind to travel across the oceans, the deserts and accept being a “Kenyan.” That way you’ll enjoy the experience, we did ourselves.
Eating places: There is a food court at GW Univeristy with several food chain restaurants like Chik-fil-A. It is only 0.9 miles a walkable distance. We found DC to be a pedestrian friendly city, so if you like walking you can venture out. Also factoring in the traffic you are better of walking or taking a bike, scooter 🛴 etc. Also, since we had ample time before our return flight late in the evening we visited many places and did a lot of sight seeing. From White House we found ourselves closer to the train station and walked there. We had a great inexpensive trip to and fro DC.
As for the services at our Embassy we had friendly conversations with other Kenyans we met there and the staff were helpful. But like I said have a mind shift when you arrive there. One of the staff members said to us “bado tunakua,” (we are still growing), that’s true so let us give room for growth.
Rev. Mathew Musyoki
is a student at Emory University- Candler School of Theology in Atlanta Georgia.
Board Member CODU
You now have the real practical cost from Mathew, and if you add for day lost say another $300 for two people, you will get an average of $310 per person. This cost is based on a low flight season and the same could double if one travels during high season travel.
That cost can be drastically reduced to $50 if we all can join the movement that is advocating for services to be brought closer to the people.
Diaspora National assembly (DNA) is the force behind it and we are optimistic that the same will be achieved soon when the push for a diaspora desk and a ministry specifically for Diaspora issues.
FOLLOW THIS LINK TO JOIN IF FROM SOUTHERN STATES
FOLLOW THIS LINK IF FROM NORTHERN STATES
FOLLOW THIS LINK IF YOU ARE FROM EASTERN STATES
WE FAIL BECAUSE WE DO NOT TRY!
DIASPORA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
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