"There is more to the Kuwait Adventure than meet the eyes, but he who wears the shoes, knows the pinch spot" - Kuwait Returnee Speaks to Thatcher

The trumpet call for Cameroonians not to go to Kuwait, and the call for those already in Kuwait to return home, is sounding louder than ever, but is anyone listening?

No one wants to return home without money. No one wants to return home and become jobless again. Some girls say life is worse than hell in Kuwait, but they prefer to die there. Others want to return home, but are held against their wish, while others say they have paid their dues, and are back for bigger ventures. 

We met Geraldine, a Kuwait returnee who accepted to grant us an exceptional interview, and this is her story.

Geraldine a 25 years old Degree Holder in History from the University of Buea 2012 graduation batch is the first daughter of a truck driver and a petty trader mother. With four other siblings. Her parents invested on her education, with the hope she was going to be the light to the others. 

After trying her hands on different jobs to make ends meet after her degree program, she decided to write the entrance examination into the Higher Teachers training College, but failed twice, because according to her, she did not have the means to buy her way, as is the traditional closed doors dark route.

Geraldine started helping out her mum in the market and unfortunately, her father died in a road accident in February 2016. It dawned on her that she had to step up her hustling game, because all her siblings were still in school, and it was either she made a big move to make some good cash, or watch her siblings all drop out of school because of money.

After her father's burial, a friend of hers told her about an opportunity to travel to Kuwait at a zero cost, for a more than 130 000F CFA Salary monthly. She saw it as a golden opportunity, and informed her mum,who loaned money from their local meeting group, to get her a passport.

When she had the the passport she submitted it to the agent who returned it some couple weeks later with a visa and a flight ticket. She explains:

"My mum was so happy when I got my visa and fight ticket, and was ordered by the agent to travel withing two days of reception off the travelling documents. We thought it was normal bush falling. My mum and I shopped for egusi, crayfish, dry fish, eru garri, and some other local spices that I thought would be needed there in Kuwait. Mum and my siblings accompanied me to the airport of November 2nd, 2016, and I took off to Kuwait the mystery land.

When we arrived to the airport in Kuwait, all the foodstuff were seized and thrown away. We were 3 of us from Cameroon on the flight that took us to Cameroon. We waited at the airport and another agent came for us, took us to an office, seized our passports, and instructed us on how to conduct ourselves during our stay. 

I had braids on my hair and was asked to take it off immediately. The other two ladies I was with, helped loosen my braids, and I was given a quick hair cut before being taken to my Ba-bah(Sponsor)

Ba-bah was 42 years, and his wife was 38. They welcomed me, and told me they were happy to have me, and that my happiness in their house will depend on my hard work and seriousness.

I knew  I had to work. I knew why I traveled to Kuwait. I travelled to Kuwait to work, and I told myself I will do whatever job I was told to do, to get the money I needed to support my family back in Cameroon. 

My sponsor had his very old mother at home, who did everything on the spot. At times she will wait after I have changed her bedding, to poo on it, and I will be forced to clean her and wash the bedding, even if it was at midnight. She did it intentionally, but I had no choice. 

I was also doing the domestic duties of the house except cooking.

Withing three months I had lose about 5 kg because I was not eating well. I had not gotten used to their food, so I ate mostly bread and mayonnaise which I was used to.

The old woman will sleep all day, and when it's night time, when everyone else will be going to bed, she will start crying, which means I had to go be by her, to make sure she is clean, give her drugs and stay up until she sleeps again. At times when I am tired and sitting with her, she will shout loudly, because am trying to close my eyes to catch some 5 minutes sleep. She will finally go to bed by 3 a.m, and that was when my day is supposed to start, because I have to clean the house.

Mam Thatcher, it was not easy, but my salary was paid on time, and apart from that I had no worries, because I went to work in Kuwait. I didn't go there for vacation. 

Then during my sixth month, the old woman died. After her funeral rites, Ba-bah's wife travelled and he was left at home only with me. The first night he did not do anything, and the second night, he started crying like the late old mama. I rushed to his room and  asked if he was ok, but he cried the more. I did not know what to do. He was not sick, but he just wanted to punish me. So I asked if he wanted water or any other thing, and he pointed at me.

I still did not understand, when he used his leg to signal that he wanted to have sex with. I begged him that it was not right, but in his own words he said 'I paid thousands of Dollars that you come work for me and my needs' I asked which needs and he said his sexual needs. He said  he told my agent that he would be having sex with me from time to time when his wife was away, because she is  constantly away monthly, and the agent said I was ok with it.

I told him that my agent did not tell me anything, but then he overpowered and rapped me. He did so the second day, and after a week, some other two men, came to our house, and he made them had sex with me.

I had no choice. Where we were living, you can not shout and no one will hear you. Ba-bah was very rich. I couldn't run away. The security was tight. I told myself that if I wanted to leave that place alive, I had no choice than to do what I was told to do. Every time he had sex with me or any of his brothers, they gave me an extra $300.

Mam, they is no man as protective or concerned about his health as the Arab man. He always used his condoms, and at times doubled it, and from time to time, he will take me for medical check up.

When Ba-bah's wife is around, he doesn't even smile with me, and the other men too did not come. He helped me from time to time to send money to my mother, and my prayer was for my two years contract to end for me to come back home, and thank God, my contract ended, and I am back home after saving enough money for myself".

Geraldine is back in the country with close to 10 Million F CFA, and her Ba-bah wants to renew her contract, but she says 10 Million F CFA cash is enough money for her to start a brand new life her in Cameroon.

She says: " I can't go back to Kuwait for anything. The trauma I went through for the many times I was  made to sleep with two or three different men a day including Ba-bah is still hunting me. I am already seeing a psychologist, because I don't think I can ever fall in love with a man". The pains of how my dignity as a woman was constantly violated without me trying to resist is still fresh in my memory. I want to rest. Then I will start a business on my own, that will enable me to become financially independent in a more decent way".

We asked if all the other girls in Kuwait went through what she went through, and Geraldine said: "Everyone has their story. If I didn't tell you mine, you wouldn't have known that I was not only a domestic slave, but a sex slave too in Kuwait. Yet I successfully sent money home, and  have been of great assistance to the education of my siblings. When they want to talk of girls in Kuwait with success stories, they always mention me, just because I have tried to change my family's situation. I decided to suffer in silence. Mam Thatcher, there is more to the Kuwait adventure than meet the eyes, but he who wears the shoes, knows the pinch spot".

Geraldine was visibly traumatized as she spoke to us, even though she put up a brave face outside so that her family should not know what she has been through for two good years. She has made money for herself true, but what about her self worth? What about her mental stability? What about her future?

It is an unfortunate situation, but it is real.


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general information purposes only. They do not constitute our legal or professional advice. Readers are advised not to act on the basis of the information contained herein alone. Every situation depends on its own facts and circumstances. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein without consulting a professional legal practitioner.

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