By Faith Nyasuguta
Three Kenyan families whose members died in the Gulf now want the state to aid them to get their loved ones’ bodies.
Those who died are Carolyne Aluoch, Beatrice Waruguru, and Lucy Wambui.
Aluoch, 25, left home in search of fees for her children. Via a private company, a Saudi Arabian house help job was secured for her. Months later Beryl, a sister to Aluoch, bumped into a video showing a bruised Aluoch.
In the same video, the househelp was being pushed into signing documents stopping her from returning to Kenya. Beryl later received a string of calls from her sister’s boss indicating that she was unwell and had been moved from a general to a mental hospital.
At this moment, the authorities alleged that Carole was acting like one with a mental issue.
On April 27, Aluoch’s boss has blocked any communication with the family after giving more information on her well-being.
After multiple attempts to reach the Saudi family, her father received a call seeking to know their relationship with Aluoch. The bad news hit home- she had passed on April 14, according to the caller.
Beryl reached out to the caller to confirm the sad news. The number was from the Foreign Affairs Diaspora Unit, which indicated that Aluoch’s death had been confirmed by doctors and her sponsor.
A write-up sent to the family on May 5 noted that Aluoch hid in the bathroom while in the hospital where she was later found dead—indicating suicide.
Reaching out to the agency that posted Aluoch’s death, it denied the claims but later confirmed to Beryl that indeed she had passed.
So far, the family has trashed suicide claims after receiving videos of Aluoch’s mistreatment from a colleague.
Efforts to get Aluoch’s body have hit a brick wall. The family has written several letters to the agency and embassy in vain.
Lucy In Iraq
In a different family, their loved one, Lucy was taken to Iraq via a middleman, Elizabeth.
A year later, she changed employers without being given formal transfer documents.
She left four children under the custody of her parents. On December 20, 2020, she called home informing the family that she was doing okay.
Two days later, a Kenyan working in Iraq heard of her death and posted it on a Kenyan WhatsApp group.
On December 28 her brother, Aaron Ng’ang’a, got the shocking news that his sister had passed away in her employer’s house.
Days later four different people called from Iraq and gave details on her death. Apparently, she had no formal documents.
On visiting the office of Foreign Affairs, they were led to the Iraqi Embassy in Nairobi, where they were advised to get a lawyer to help them pursue the case.
The embassy confirmed Lucy’s death and since then, the family has been trying to acquire her body for burial.
Beatrice In Saudi Arabia
Beatrice had also traveled to Saudi Arabia in search of greener pastures in March this year. She secured a job as a house help.
In April, she expressed fear for her life as she spoke with her cousin, James. It was the last time they heard from her.
An agent who works with the company that linked Beatrice with the househelp job informed her mother that they decided to withhold the body or hand it over to them.
The family seeks to get their daughter’s body back, in whatever state. They indicate that they are psychologically prepared for anything, according to Mercy Wanjiru, her mother.
The three families now want the government to help them get the bodies of their loved ones back.
Following this, human rights lobby Haji Africa together with some family members has moved to court seeking to bar the exportation of some other 35,000 Kenyans to the Gulf for employment.
Salima Njoki, a lobby member, has urged the government to create jobs to shrink those traveling to the Gulf.
“There has been a rise in such cases, we are informed that there are 35,000 more women yet to be transported to Saudi. It is the government’s obligation to ensure we, citizens, have decent jobs. They need to create jobs for our young boys and girls to reduce these cases,” she said.
She has also asked the government to dismiss the agencies that connect these girls to such employment opportunities.