Tales of Kenyans suffering in Saudi Arabia at the hands of their employers are commonplace.
The story of Faith Murunga, however, beats most by a mile.
Faith Murunga narrated her harrowing ordeal to Jklive on Wednesday, shedding light on the inhuman treatment and abuse that some jobless Kenyans have to endure in the pursuit of the elusive coin.
A household in Saudi Arabia makes between Ksh.23,000 to Ksh. 28,000 a month.
Before she flew out of the country, Ms. Murunga says she underwent training in Sykokimau.
Most women who fly out to Saudi Arabia plan to work for a while, raise enough capital to start their own businesses back home before quitting.
That like most plans is easier said than done.
After the training, Ms. Murunga would leave the country, leaving her husband behind, believing she had finally made it.
Upon her arrival, that lofty dream faded away, fast. Her passport was taken away, then, her dignity.
“My journey to Saudi Arabia started with training in Syokimau here in Kenya on how to be a housemaid in Saudi Arabia. Upon arrival they took my passport,” she said on Wednesday “ The next morning things became bad. Nilianza kuambiwa niwaekee dawa kwa private parts”
She was beaten frequently, and for no reason.
One day her boss asked her for a cup and she brought a spoon as she was yet to learn Arabic.
“I went through hell. One time I was beaten so badly after my boss asked me to bring a cup and I brought a spoon yet I didn’t understand the language. I used to have one meal in a day and that is a strong tea,” she told JKlive
The situation would worsen as the days wore on. Her attempt to reach the Kenyan Embassy for help was futile.
“I got no support from any Kenyan official in Saudi Arabia. I called one Embassy guy and they used vulgar language akaniambia you are a girl enda ufanye ile kitu wenzako wanaeza Fanya ndio ufanye Kazi… lala na boss yako ndio ufanye kazi,” Ms. Murunga said.
At some point, Ms. Murunga says she thought all hope was lost.
Her boss doused her with boiling water, leaving her with serious burns to her arm. She still carries those scars to date.
Her employer would then force her to confess that she had burnt herself at gunpoint.
She maintained the same story even to police officers and doctors who attended to her.
Her moment of luck came when she was going back to the house with her employer.
“They told me to take out the trash, and I seized the opportunity to run across the road to the Redcross offices where I finally got help,” she adds.
She did not have money to pay for her air ticket, her husband back at home had spent all the cash she would wire home.
The government says that there are some 97,000 Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia. 97 have so far died although some of the deaths are not related to their jobs.
“I want to assure any Kenyan working locally or abroad that their lives are important… I believe the future is bright and we assure these ladies of their safety and comfort in Saudi Arabia,” CS Chelugui said on Wednesday.
Having experienced Saudi Arabia first hand, Ms. Murunga says she would never go back despite the assurance.
“Experience is the best teacher. I would not tell anyone whether to go to Saudi Arabia or not. But before you go, find out whether the agency taking you there is genuine or not,” she says.