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Kenya/American Woman,with Kenyan boyfriend moving to America


I am an American woman, who lived in Kenya for 7 months and fell in love with a Luo. He is going to move to America and we are going to get married. I've met his family, and they all love and support our relationship.

I am more formally educated than he is, and I have concerns that he will be able to find work and be happy and successful here.

What challenges do you expect a Luo man to face when relocating to America, and what challenges do you expect me, as a white American woman, will I face? Any big cultural things I should be aware of, that I wouldn't already know for living in Kenya for 7 months?

Any tips for making the relocation and relationship successful is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Congratulations on your new found love.

Challenges are to be expected if and especially if he has never lived abroad. He may need time and encouragement to adjust to his new environment. If he is a fast learner, he will catch on quickly though.

With such marriages, most people are usually concerned that the person being taken abroad is not in the whole marriage thing for economic reasons. Unfortunately, we Kenyans would do whatever it takes to go abroad, especially to America. That said, if you both genuinely love each other, then you should overcome any marital challenges with ease.

African men in general are proud and do not take lightly to the woman being a bread winner. You just need to not bring it up in public or embarrass him in anyway publicly. Be a submissive wife.

Lastly, when all the excitement of being married and being abroad has come and gone, Africans, regardless of their tribe, culture or country, tend to want to return back to their home country. This could take as long as 30 years, but eventually, they return back home and mostly to their villages. This is something that you will need to think about because chances are, one of you will bring it up later in the marriage.

As far as you can - learn his language (both Luo and swahili)- when things turn rough, this is the language that will be used when discussing you with his family.

Lastly, have your legal mind on - protect your assets (houses, savings etc) until you know that you know that you know, that the man is genuine.

All the best.



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Margaret Kariuki


I can answer most questions relating to civil law in Kenya. This includes Family Law, Commercial Law, Immigration and Conveyancing.


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Advocate of High Court of Kenya Masters in Law (London School of Economics) Bachelors in Law (University of Warwick)

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