Saudi Arabia is notoriously known for human rights violations against African migrant Kenyan workers.
Reports of Kenyans being mistreated and eventually coming back home in coffins from Saudi Arabia are not new. But the ending, for one Agnes Wairimu is different.
Wairimu flew to Saudi Arabia in 2012. Thicks were thick in her life. All she wanted was a way to better the lives of her two daughters.
She had separated from her husband due to alcoholism. She was a beautician, and she tried several other businesses, including a bar, but it collapsed.
A friend of hers asked her if she would be interested in working in Saudi and earn Ksh30,000 and she did not think twice given the hardships she was going through in Kenya.
“Ksh30,000 was enough to educate my children,” she says in a YouTube show dubbed Kirathi Kia Carol Kinyugo Mwaura.
So, she left for her new home in Saudi and got the shock of her life. Her first salary was Ksh17,000 and not Ksh30,000.
“I had already planned for Ksh90,000,” Wairimu says. She made peace with it and worked for two years, earning the same money.
But she always sent her salary to her mother for safe-keeping. Two years after her contract ended, she vowed never to return there.
She wanted to start another chapter of her life in Kenya since she had saved all her salary. Wairimu quickly adds that her first boss never mistreated her for the two years she worked there.
“I would wake up at 8:30 am, and by noon, I would be done with my day’s work,” she said.
In 2014, she flew back to Kenya and heavily spent with her children because Kenya’s inflation was high.
She decided to go back to Saudi and make more money. This marked a new beginning in her life.
Wairimu found an excellent boss who she worked for a year until her husband made passes at her. She quit her job to salvage her life as Saudi laws are strict on adultery.
From here, she worked independently and lived in her rented house. In a good month, she would make at least Ksh70,000.
Her new income stream enabled her to send quite an amount back home to her mother, who topped up her savings and purchased a plot of land for her.
When she returned in 2019, Wairimu developed the plot by building rental units, giving her at least Ksh30,000 every month.
She says her sacrifice was worth it because her two daughters went to college and are now independent.
Wairimu also thanked her mother for being prudent with the money she wired back home.