My life experience in Kuwait
27 June 2016
. . . I was ill-treated
. . . would sleep four hours a day
â€œDesperation for jobs led us to ignore the warning that we were given by some police officers we met at the airport while we were on our way to board a plane to Kuwait.â€
These are the words of 21-year-old Samantha Mhlanga who is one of the victims who had been lured to Kuwait on the pretext of getting better jobs in the foreign land.
The young lady says she regrets ever leaving her job of selling second hand clothes at the Fourth St flea market where she would realize some hard cash without too much work.
Mhlanga said her ordeal started the very first day she laid her feet at the Kuwait place she was working as she was forced to work from 6am to 12 midnight.
â€œMy first duty everyday was to wash four big cars every morning until the day I ran away.
â€œAs if not enough I was forced to do every house work staring from laundry, ironing clothes and sweeping three apartments with big rooms.
â€œI would only sleep for four hours every day and there was no time to rest.
â€œI was even forced to wear a uniform they termed Khadhama meaning housemaid in their language each and every day,â€ she said.
She said that her experience in Kuwait is something that she would not dream of coming across again.
â€œThe people there are very cruel and they donâ€™t see other races like people, they treated me like an animal.
â€œWhen I got sick they would only give me some Panadol and force me to get back to work,â€ said Mhlanga.
Mhlanga said that it all started when she told one cameraman she met at her flea market that she was looking for a job.
â€œI was linked to this work agent called James Tungamirai Maroodza by one cameraman I met at the flea market when I told him I was looking for a job.
â€œI took the agentâ€™s number and called telling him that I was interested and we made some arrangements to meet,â€ she said.
Mhlanga said that everything was sorted and she went to the airport where she met some 30 other girls who were on their way to the same destination.
â€œWhen we were at the Airport some police officers warned us that some women were being abused in Kuwait and questioned why they had chosen that country but we ignored them since we really wanted the jobs.
â€œTunga told us to ignore them saying that is what they always do, little did we know that we were going to hellâ€ she said.
She said they all boarded Ethiopian Airways that day.
She said things turned different when they reached Ethiopia considering the type of plane that they boarded on their way to Kuwait.
â€œZvinhu zvakaratidza kushanduka patakasvika pa airport yeku Ethiopia, ndege yatakakwira takuenda kuKuwait yaiva isingaiti.
â€œIt was old and tattered yaitotyisa,â€ Mhlanga said.
Mhlanga further said that as soon as they reached the check-in point at the airport in Kuwait their passports were confiscated until the people whose addresses they were visiting arrived.
She said some of the girls found the people they were supposed to work for waiting for them while she had to wait for hers to come.
â€œI was taken to the agentâ€™s house where I was told that my boss had gone to give birth so I waited until her son came to pick me up the following day at around 6pm.
She told this publication that what pains her the most is that the agent lied to her that her employee was going to sponsor her in everything but that was not the case.
She said she only got to know of the Zimbabwean embassy when she tried her friendâ€™s number who told her that she had returned to Zimbabwe.
â€œI was given the number of the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Kuwait by my friend when I wanted to know how she was doing.
â€œI then called the embassy who advised me to run away.
â€œIt was not easy for me to run away as I did not know where I was and the streets were labelled in a language I could not read,â€ she added.
Mhlanga said she managed to get to the embassy after being helped by a taxi driver where she received some treatment and was given tickets to get back here.
Despite all these hash conditions Mhlanga said she was never denied food or her pay although it would come after some efforts of follow ups.
She said that she received all her 70KD (US$218 depending with rate) pay for the three months she worked.
Mhlanga only landed here on June 17.