May I Please Christen My Baby?


Ten years ago, I did not need to beg for a date for my baby to be christened.

Back then, my father was 74 years old, a widower with Sh1,500 pension.

His other sources of finance were small-scale coffee and tea farms, which brought in about Sh3,000 per month.

However, when my daughter was born, we set a date for her christening and invited her grandfather.


The process was involving but nonetheless, he got his visa. We toured as many places as we could, took photographs and crowned the visit with a big naming ceremony for the baby.

Six years after his visit, we had a baby girl and again set a date for christening, excitedly awaiting the arrival of her grandfather.

Nothing much had changed about his social and financial status but he was now 80 years old.

We followed the same application procedure but this time, he was denied a visa.

According to the embassy, he did not have strong family ties to guarantee his return back home.


My family and I had sleepless nights, distressed, trying to fathom the unexpected turn of events.

We had to cancel the baby-naming ceremony, ending up bitter and frustrated.

It has now been 10 years since my father’s visit to my country of residence and we have another baby.

We decided to invite my eldest sister as dad is now 84 years old and we do not want to put him through another harrowing experience similar to that of four years ago.

My sister has an informal job and is a single mother. One of her children is an Engineering student in Germany. 


We believed she had every good reason to be issued with a visa. 

An official obligation letter, which we acquired from the Town hall where one is registered, proves that the host will cater for the guest.

In case any financial need arises, the host is obligated to meet them as the country or town will not. 

This could be in case of sudden sickness, which needs medical attention besides what travel insurance covers. 

The obligation letter is paid after the Town hall proves that one is financially-able to meet all costs. 

It has been a nerve-wrecking six months of begging for a visa; she has been to the embassy countless times, handed in application after application.


Money was spent for her travel from the village to the city, visa processing fees and endless phone calls in the hope of some positive news. 

She still ended up with another rejection letter despite a signed affidavit from a practising lawyer to prove that she would return back home. 

The letter is written partly in English and the rest in German. It states that her application could not be processed because she handed it in after the appeal period was over. 

We are now at a loss. 

Kawira Njeru.

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