Lucy Wanjiku left Kenya for Saudi Arabia in June 2021 in search of greener pastures; little did she know the journey to the Gulf country would expose her to a near-death experience.
Initially, the mother of two who worked as a domestic worker in Riyadh with a monthly income of Sh29,000 seemed like a good plan, but time proved her wrong.
Just after two months of peaceful work, Wanjiku, 45, started experiencing mistreatment from her employer, including physical abuse and unpaid wages despite working for long hours.
”I just wanted to secure a future for my children. My oldest child is disabled and depends on me for everything. My employer was overworking me, and whenever I complained, he would not listen. I put up with everything because I wanted the best for my children and my aging mother,’’ she recalled.
When things got out of hand, Wanjiku reached out to her agent in Saudi Arabia for help. Negotiations between the agent and her employer resulted in an agreement for her to be paid.
However, after five months, payments ceased, and she was even denied food. The single mother would survive on one meal per day despite working for long hours.
She would even get life threats from her employer, but she persevered until one night when she overheard a conversation in which a plan was being made on how she would be eliminated and her body disposed.
In fear, she refused to work, leading to her confinement in a room without food for three days. The employer would later deceive her, claiming to be taking her to her agent only to be dumped at a mosque for a week.
Fortunately, she was rescued by police, who facilitated her return to Kenya. Upon arrival at the airport, well-wishers paid for her bus fare from Nairobi to her home in Ngodu, Njoro, Nakuru County.
”I am happy to be back home. I have nothing to show that I worked in Saudi Arabia, only memories of what I went through in the hands of my employer. They took all the money I had earned.’’ She said.
Wanjiku advised Kenyans planning to go to Saudi Arabia to just look for jobs at home, even if they are paid meager wages.