Many Kenyans especially young women leave Kenya for the Gulf countries in search of greener pastures.
Some, like Mary Wanjiru, live to tell their stories but others return in body bags.
Ms Wanjiru left the country on April 22, 2021 in search of a better life in Saudi Arabia. She met her agent through a friend in Njawatho village, Njoro sub-county, Nakuru County.
It took at least two months to get her travel documents, she told the Nation.
“It took us two months to prepare all the papers. When my travelling documents were processed, I left the country on April 22, 2021, and through my agent I was employed in a home in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as a domestic worker earning Sh29,000 per month,” she said.
Things took a turn for the worst two months later when her employer forced her to cut all communication with her family.
Ms Wanjiru is a single mother of three and is the first-born in a family of eight. Her trip to Saudi Arabia was supposed to help her take care of the entire family.
“Being the firstborn in a family of eight siblings, I really wanted to change my life and that of my mother as we live in a slum,” she said.
“I separated from my husband five years ago and he left me with the burden of raising our children single-handedly. All I wanted was a good life for my children.”
She told the daily that her employer declined to pay her the first month’s salary on grounds that they had spent a lot of money on getting her to the Arab country.
When they finally paid her, she sent some of the money to her mother and saved the rest for a boutique when she returned to Kenya.
Ms Wanjiru also recalled events leading to her paralysis. It was on the morning of June 18 when her employer attempted to force her into the main room where the rest of the family was holding prayers.
When she refused, her employer pushed her from the second floor balcony. She hit a rock and injured her arms and legs.
A neighbor called an ambulance and the police after which she was taken to the hospital. At the hospital, she met two Arabs who helped her get in touch with Kenyans in the Arab country.
A video circulating on social media of her in a hospital bed also caught the attention of her agent who arranged for her to return to Kenya.
Her employer, however, is a free man after she was forced to sign papers written in Arabic. He told the court that she had sustained the injuries while trying to escape.
Now, Ms Wanjiru lives with her younger sister, a casual laborer in Jawatho.
“I’m now bedridden, using diapers, but I thank God that I came back home alive, unlike the many girls who have died in the Gulf countries. I’m happy for the second chance in life,” she said.
“The agents have never even bothered to check up on me. I am here struggling by myself. This trend really needs to stop.”
Her sister helps pay for a private doctor who charges Sh1,500 to change her urinary catheter every two weeks.
They are, however, struggling to pay for her physiotherapy visits at Nakuru Level Five Hospital three times a week. They cost her Sh4,500.