Gladys Bonareri in a hospital bed in Saudi Arabia [Photo: Nation]
Nov, 16th 2020 – A Kenyan woman stranded abroad is seeking help from well-wishers and the Kenyan consulate in Saudi Arabia to return home after losing her employment and surviving a stroke. Speaking to the Nation, she said that she has been living in an office complex with her three-month-old baby girl for the last three months with no money, little food and medical care.
Gladys Bonareri from Laikipia County took it to social media asking her fellow citizens in diaspora to come to her aid. In a whatsapp voice recording, she said, “I need your help to go back home. I’m in Saudi Arabia and just had a baby but I don’t have money to buy a ticket to go back. I’ve reached out to the Kenyan embassy in Saudi but they are not interested in my story.“
Tearfully narrating her tribulation, she said, “I’m really suffering here with my baby. These people have been treating me like a prisoner since my baby was born. All I want is to go back home but they are not giving me travel documents because they say my baby is not Kenyan even though I came here when I was pregnant.“
She says that she was recruited by an agency in Kenya called Afrister for a househelp job in Saudi Arabia early this year. She left for Saudi Arabia in February and was received by a partner agency called Rwasi upon her arrival. she narrates that she was hired by a Saudi family and soon after discovered that she was expectant. “I didn’t know I was pregnant, in fact when I was leaving Kenya, I did some tests that showed everything was normal. A few months into my job, I fell very ill and I was hospitalised. The doctors discovered that apart from being pregnant, I had also suffered a minor stroke.”
She says that she stayed in the hospital till September when she was due and with the new baby, she could not work. She decided to come back to Kenya but could not afford a ticket with a realisation that she needed travel papers for her new born. She says, “When I called the embassy they told me I needed to provide a marriage certificate. I told them I’ve never been married but they couldn’t hear any of that.“
Her story circulated social media till it landed on Dr. Newton Kinnity, a kenyan political activitist living in Connecticut, New Haven. He says, “My daughter alerted me to the plight of what she called two Kenyans who were sick and were suffering in Saudi Arabia. I made contact with Gladys Bonareri through WhatsApp and after listening to her story, I immediately wrote to the Kenyan embassy in Saudi Arabia asking them to get involved. The office has not responded since September.“
Dr. Newton says that he has been supporting Gladys with money for food after he made contact with her. He added that by the time he contacted her, she was in hospital and she really wanted to leave the country and return home.
He says, “I volunteered to pay for her ticket back home once she was out of the hospital. The Embassy refused to give her travel documents for the infant, demanding for a marriage certificate. Gladys says she was never married in Kenya and wonders how the embassy expected her to have a marriage certificate. Her Kenya passport clearly shows she has been single and she is still single.”
Dr. Newton adds that he has been unsuccessful in contacting the Kenyan Embassy in Saudi Arabia via the telephone numbers on the internet. “I have written emails to the embassy but I have not had any reply. Gladys needs travel documents for her infant baby whose pregnancy she conceived in Kenya. She is now crying for help. She dearly needs help to get the travel documents for her infant.”
Dr. Newton is pleading with the Kenyan government to help Gladys get travel documents for her baby so that her travel back home can be finalized.