Friday, June 19, 2009

From Kenya To Uptown

The Immigrant Connect website features an in-depth interview with the two brothers who started Kahawa Coffee House last year, Kampen and Ajay Egesa. It's an interesting tale of how they came to Chicago, how Kahawa House is benefitting their family back home, and how they hope the cafe becomes a center of Kenyan culture in Chicago. An excerpt:

Upon his arrival in the United States, Egesa realized it was much harder and more expensive to earn an education here than it was back home. The next option, he said, was to get a job and start sending money back to his sizable Kenyan family. What he made from his first job in the American corporate world provided enough for Egesa to live on, with plenty extra to send back to his six siblings, their children and his mother and father.

“One dollar is equivalent to 78 Kenyan shillings,” Egesa said. “There is very little you can do with a dollar in the United States, but there is a lot you can do with 78 shillings there.”

By sending just 100 dollars to Kenya, Egesa said he is able to provide substantial help with “the three basics - food, housing and education,” for many family members.

Read Kenyan Coffee Shop Offers Caffeine, Community for Chicago’s Immigrants here.

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