I thought the vacuum cleaner was a tortoise – Kenyan-Australian Senator Lucy Gichihu

It was a moment of great pride for Kenya when Lucy Gichuhi, a Kenyan native, was elected to the Australian Senate, the first Black African to do so. This pride was even more intensified when, upon listening to her being sworn in, Kenyans found out that Ms Gichuhi despite her status, still had that indigenous Kikuyu accent.

Ms Gichuhi recently made her maiden speech and in so doing, narrated her experience in finding her way as a Kenyan migrant.

When she and her children first got inside their house in Adelaide, they encountered a strange tortoise-looking appliance. They did not know what it was and Ms Gichuhi consequently warned her children against touching the thing until they verified what it was.

As they took to cleaning their new house, they could just not get the carpet clean despite trying all they could. A week later, an inspector was sent to check the house and the state of the carpet was appalling.

“The inspector asked me why the carpet was so dirty,” Ms Gichuhi said, “I told him we had tried to do everything possible to clean the carpet but it won’t get clean.

“The inspector then asked her why she did not try to use the vacuum cleaner to which she replied saying that she did not have a vacuum cleaner. It was then that the inspector informed her that the ‘tortoise-shaped’ appliance on the wall was actually a vacuum cleaner!

Ms Gichuhi made some notable quotes in her life about her childhood in Kenya and the struggles she experienced trying to integrate into the Australian society, and spoke nostalgically of her mom: “She told me the only part of a woman should use to make money is her brains.” She went on to become a lawyer and now she is South Australia’s Senator.”

 

 

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