By Jackson Ngari, Vice Chairman of Kenya Community in Korea
Kenya Community in Korea (KCK) held its first meeting of the year during Seollal (Lunar New Year) on Feb. 8, 2016 in Seoul. The meeting which was attended by over 70 Kenyans and friends took place at Bethany Church, Cana Hall.
KCK officially has five branches including Seoul, Cheonan, Busan (and Ulsan co-opted), Daejeon, Daegu and Gwangju, all of which were represented in the meeting.
Kenyans living in Korea gathered with fellow countrymen and women as a family to share a moment of interaction, plan for future activities and receive updates from their Embassy.
The activities for the year 2016 were unveiled by the Secretary General George Gathuka. These activities include: Seollal (Lunar New Year) meeting, which was taking place at this particular day, Tujuane Festival where Kenyans have a chance to go for a picnic, the East African Sports Day which will be held at the Seoul National University where more than ten African countries are expected to participate and the Annual Retreat that will be held in Busan in the month of August.
In his remarks, KCK Chairman Dr. Benson Kamary thanked the members for their active participation in various ways and contributions leading to a very successful term so far. He encouraged every member to take active roles at whatever level by sharing their time, ideas or monetary support “because no one is too poor to make a contribution to the community to which he or she belongs.”
During the formalization of the approved constitutional amendments, Dr. Kamary informed the members that this year’s AGM, to be held in September, will be different because KCK will hold elections on the day of AGM which is the practice with many organizations. He noted that many members had overwhelmingly agreed with the idea of conducting elections on a day where majority of Kenyans gather. An electoral board comprising of five members was formed to begin working towards the elections in September.
In his address, Kenya Ambassador to Korea, H.E Mohamed Gello, reminded Kenyans that they are the best ‘ambassadors’ for Kenya. He encouraged them to be good representatives of the Kenya community at personal levels. This he said would make people who do not know Kenya to understand Kenya well form their interactions. He also briefed Kenyans on the bi-lateral relations between Kenya and Korea.
The Deputy Ambassador, Gathoga Chege, confirmed that the Embassy has been able to secure a good number of scholarship positions because those students who receive scholarships have proved beyond doubts that Kenyans deserve more. He congratulated those who have received scholarships and have represented the community well in their respective areas. He noted that graduations were a great time of affirming that a long journey has come to a glorious conclusion urging students to ensure they remain focused and attains that moment.
Ambassador Gello urged Kenyans to take advantage of the suitable investment environment that is emerging back in Kenya. He encouraged KCK to come up with an investment company that could provide a channel for Kenyans living in Korea to be able to invest in Kenya while in Korea. He hopes that the improved bilateral relations at government level between Kenyan and Korea will strengthen the partnerships and perhaps enable the head of states to exchange visits at one time. The president of Korea would be visiting some African Countries and Ambassador Gello is optimistic that Kenya will be one of the countries in the President’s itinerary.
Currently Korea construction companies are well involved in Kenyan infrastructure, among them the Hyundai Company currently constructing a geothermal power generation in Kenya. This energy plant being undertaken by a Korean company is one of the biggest in Africa and one of its kinds. Other constructions engagements between Kenya and Korea are the training of Kenyans in the Nuclear energy sector where Korean government has offered training to more than twenty Kenyans and hopes to do so to many more.
In other areas of partnership, Korea has now partnered with Kenya’s agricultural sector where Korean plans to begin importing agricultural products from Kenya like bananas and broccoli and perhaps more other products as bilateral engagements continue to explore the Kenyan agricultural sector (agricultural market).
After the ambassador’s speech KCK members had time to ask questions and give feedbacks on various matters regarding their community.
Also in attendance was Dr. Wesley Wentworth of intervarsity Press.
KCK-Executive Board greatly appreciates, H.E Ambassador Mohamed Gello and Embassy Staff, KCK members for attending the vital event. Special thanks were sent to the Senior Pastor of Bethany Church Rev. Dr. Ju Hwan Kwak for the kind support towards KCK for providing the venue, every time Kenyans living in Korea have desired to meet.
About the author: Rev. Jackson Ngari, the vice chair of the KCK-Executive Board is a Ph.D. student at Torch Trinity Graduate University, Seoul Korea.
You can reach Jackson on firstname.lastname@example.org