Lucy Wanjiku, aged 45, hailing from the village of Ngodu in Njoro, Nakuru County, left Kenya for Saudi Arabia in June 2021 with the hope of supporting her family. Faced with financial challenges, she sought better opportunities abroad to meet the needs of her two children, one of whom has a disability.
However, little did she know that her journey would take a different turn, leading to suffering, abuse, and unpaid wages. Opting to work as a domestic worker in Riyadh with a monthly income of Sh29,000 initially seemed like a good plan.
After working for two months, her employer’s demeanor changed, and she began facing mistreatment. Lucy endured the hardships even as communication with her family was severed by her employer. As her situation worsened, Lucy reached out to agents in Saudi Arabia, hoping for intervention and assistance.
Negotiations between the agent and her employer resulted in an agreement for overdue wages. However, after five months, payments ceased, and she was even denied food.
According to Lucy, while in Saudi Arabia, she survived on one meal a day despite working long hours. At one point, her employer threatened her life. One evening, she overheard discussions about plans to harm her, with intentions of disposing of her body.
In fear, she refused to work, leading to her confinement in a room without food for three days. Later, her employer deceived her, claiming to take her to the agency’s office, but she was left at a mosque for a week.
Fortunately, she was rescued by the police, facilitating her return to Kenya. “After reaching the airport, good Samaritans helped me, paid for my bus fare from Nairobi to Nakuru. 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. Those planning to go to Saudi Arabia should just look for jobs at home, even if they are paid meager wages,” she said.
Currently, Lucy is rebuilding her life with the support of her relatives. Her mother, Teresia Wambui, expressed her sadness, revealing that she saw her daughter after three years and disclosed that her health had deteriorated.