At 40 years, I have seen it all having undergone trafficking abroad. As a single mom, my biggest drive is to always create a better life for my 2 school-going children and immediate family. Looking at how far I have come, I am truly grateful to be back home and able to run a business. But this has not been an easy journey.
My rural home is in South Nyanza and I have lived there for the better part of my early life. Due to life difficulties and limited job opportunities, I decided to relocate to Nairobi county in search of greener pastures. There, I struggled to find a stable source of income and resorted to doing menial jobs such as washing clothes for different households to make ends meet. This did not bring in as much income and I found myself constantly struggling to support my family and myself.
“I was assured of a job that would pay me 35,000Ksh”
In 2018, I decided to travel to Oman. I did this through a recruitment agency but since this was all new to me, I left it up to the agent to cater for everything. In the process, I never got to see my contract, just a promise that I would get a job that would pay me 35,000ksh (290 Euros) as a domestic worker. Since this was a new opportunity with a higher salary I was excited to embark on this journey. But it was quickly short-lived. Upon arrival, I found out I had to work in more than one household for close to 13 hours per day with very little rest. It was really hard. I remember I would only eat one meal a day as my boss denied me food. To make matters worse, I was not allowed to go anywhere, they withheld my passport and salary. It was a dark season for me.
At some point, I fell sick but my boss denied me any form of medical treatment. In fact, they assaulted me physically and spoke very harshly with me. This led me to ask for a change of house through my agent there which they did after my health got slightly better. While at my new place of work, my health condition worsened and I went back to Kenya because I became really sick to the point of bleeding. My boss ended up paying for my ticket I believe because he didn’t want to have a sick employee in his hands. I came back to Kenya after staying there for 1 year and 2 months.
While in Kenya, I urgently needed medical care and I underwent an operation. Since I came back with barely anything to my name, I was desperate as I did not have basic needs such as food to give to my family. During this time, a friend of mine who saw my plight introduced me to HAART Kenya.
Through HAART, I received support such as basic needs i.e food, therapy which was really helpful as I was able to process what I went through in a safe space, and also medical support. To top it up, I received a small grant to start up a business where I sell vegetables, eggs, and street food which I am happy to say has picked up quite well. In fact, I plan on expanding my business. My 2 children are now in a better space. One of them decided to join me in running this business and the other in University studying Mass Communication. Even though the fees are quite high, I believe that I can better their future for them through support.