Nominating Organization: African Services Committee
My name is Diana Muchira. I was born in Kenya in November 1981, and raised in comfortable middle-class Nairobi. My upbringing was very typical, and my parents were very supportive of my four older siblings and me. I married my husband David in May 2002, and we have two children together: Natalie (born July 2000) and Dylan (born June 2010).
Our happy, peaceful life came to an end in 2011 when my brothers joined an ethnocentric gang, which formed in the late 1980s and espouses anti-Western and anti-Christian values. Because this gang colludes with the Kenyan government, it has impunity. This gang seeks to return our ethnic group to its interpretation of our pre-colonial traditions.
One of the practices that this gang seeks to spread is female circumcision, which was practiced by my ethnicity, but was largely eradicated in the last forty years. However, if the mothers, sisters, wives of the gang members are not circumcised, this is seen as a shame to the men. My parents did not circumcise my sisters and me, and my brothers considered this an affront to our culture. In February 2012, my oldest sister’s home was burglarized and she was circumcised. A few weeks later, my middle sister was raped and circumcised. My brothers threatened me repeatedly until I fled to the United States in May 2012.
It was a difficult, but easy decision to leave Kenya. I needed to save myself, but I couldn’t bring my husband or children with me because none had visas or even passports. Plus, I thought that my brothers and the gang were only interested in me. I left Natalie and Dylan in the care of very close friends. I spoke (and continue to speak) with my children regularly, but I haven’t been able to get in touch with David since I left Kenya. I don’t know where he is or what has happened to him.
On April 22, 2014, the friend with whom Natalie was staying called me frantically. Natalie was outside with friends, but did not return. Search teams scoured the area looking for her, but she hasn’t been seen or heard from since. I know that the gang took her. The police were contacted, but not even a report was made.
I applied for asylum in the United States on July 2012. I was granted asylum in September 2015. My heart is broken, but I need to focus on Dylan and bringing him to his new home. I work as a babysitter, and I can't afford to fly Dylan to the United States. Plus, because Dylan is only five years old, I need to fly to either Tanzania or Uganda where I will meet Dylan and then return to the U.S. with him. Please help reunite me with what is left of my family - thank you for your help.