Ailing Kenyan woman stuck in a Saudi Arabian hospital appeals for help to return home

Emily Kaptuwai

A photo of Emily Kaptuwai from West Pokot County, who is stuck in Saudi Arabia. She is seeking help to get back home.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Emily is currently bedridden after she left her employer’s house due to her illness in unclear circumstances.
  • In a video making rounds on social media, Emily is heard seeking help to be exited from the foreign land.

In December 2021, Emily Cherop Kaptuwai, 27, packed her bags and left her rural home a happy, upbeat, and hopeful woman, in pursuit of greener pastures.

Ms Kaptuwai who hails from Murkwijit village in West Pokot County traveled to work in Saudi Arabia, where she got a job as a domestic worker.

However, her dreams are now dimmed and she is now devastated. The mother of three is sick and stuck in the Gulf.

Emily is currently bedridden after she left her employer’s house due to her illness in unclear circumstances.

In a video making rounds on social media, Emily is heard seeking help to be exited from the foreign land.

Narrating her bitter ordeal, but without mentioning exactly what transpired, Emily says that all her bags, money, and everything were taken.

“It is a long story. I just need help to get back home. I am at the hospital and I was rescued by a Good Samaritan,” she says in the viral video.

“I don’t have any means to go back home. All my documents including my passport and identity card expired,” says Ms Kaptuwai.

Investigations show that Ms Kaptuwai is currently at the King Salman Hospital, Room number 212A in Riyadh City undergoing treatment.

Back home, her family is distressed that their daughter may die in Saudi Arabia.

The family is appealing to the government to intervene by helping them bring their daughter back to Kenya. They have appealed to Kenyans to help them raise funds to fly back their sick kin.

Emily’s husband - John Wekesa Wamukota who stays with their three children in Downtown Ekegoro village, Sinyerere ward in Trans-Nzoia County is now seeking help to bring back the love of his life who is stuck in the Middle East.

He says they were in constant communication until recently when she became completely unreachable.

According to her husband, Emily has been stranded in the Gulf country since late last year. He said Emily’s boss died a few years ago and she stays with the children.

John Wekesa

John Wekesa Wamukota, husband of Emily Kaptuwai, who is stranded in Saudi Arabia. He is now seeking help to bring back his wife who is stranded in the Middle East.

Photo credit: Oscar Kaikai | Nation Media Group

“We have not yet established what happened to her. As a family, we are not getting clear information about her situation,” the desperate husband said, noting that information concerning his dear wife remains scanty.

“We are drained emotionally due to the frustrations we are undergoing. I just want her back. We do not have much but it is safer here. She needs to come back home and we will survive with what we have,” said Mr Wekesa.

Nation.Africa managed to communicate with Emily on Saturday night through WhatsApp App and she said she was still recuperating at the hospital but still had internal bleeding. She said she only needed an exit from Saudi Arabia.

“I got a phone call and I am waiting for feedback from the agent today. The agent is also making efforts. They want to transfer me to another psychiatric hospital,” she wrote on Sunday morning.

In a fresh twist, however, the agent by the name of Agripina Julius spoke to Nation.Africa on Sunday morning claimed Emily has a case to answer in Saudi and he is not ready to speak to the press.

“I will only speak to the family,” he said.

Emily’s husband said his wife’s two-year contract in Saudi Arabia expired late last year and she had been complaining of heavy chores, including working for long hours, and being sickly with headaches before their communication cut.

“Things were not moving well here in Kenya. We had no money. We have children and they need to be in school. We agreed that she goes to Saudi Arabia and I remain behind with the kids. We needed to plan for our future,” said Mr Wekesa.

He said at first, Emily had gone to Saudi Arabia in 2013 for a two-year contract then came back.

“At first there was no problem. In 2013 she went and the passport expired and they were in the process of renewing another one to enable her to come back home. It has been 11 years now since she got her passport. Her bosses had promised to renew it but it was delayed. All her documents were kept by her bosses. She was supposed to return in December,” he explained.

Mr Wekesa says that things have been okay for Emily till last week.

According to the husband, on Friday 5, April, she told him that the network would be disconnected and she would not be found. “I had flashed my phone and all the information and documents got lost. She told me to look for her brother Tito to give me her agent’s number. On Sunday she sent me a please call and I knew that she was alive and wanted to communicate with me. I sent back the please call me to show that I had seen it. I called Tito and he gave me the number of the agent, but the owner of the number refused saying that she is not an agent. Later, Emily’s friend Kala called me on April 10, 2024, and asked me if I had spoken to Emily,” narrated Mr Wekesa.

He added that another woman from Saudi Arabia sent him his wife’s photo while in a hospital bed.

“She gave me a number but it was the one I was given by Tito. I became worried. Another friend sent me another number for an agent who gave me a number to reach Emily. I was told it was a number for a health worker at the hospital where Emily was and that she could connect me with my wife. I wrote a text to her saying I am Emily’s husband. The lady called me back and I spoke to Emily who told me she was in hospital and she needs prayers,” narrated the distraught husband.

“I am jobless and I have no money to bring her home,” he stated.

Emily’s sister Silvia Kaptuwai points out that they want their kin to receive medical attention in Kenya and not in a foreign country.

“I spoke to her a week ago. She was asking me about her children’s whereabouts, she has young kids. I learned about her woes on Facebook. Her phone was taken. We depend on her,” said Silvia.

She narrated that having endured decades of stinging poverty that condemned them to live under horrendous conditions, her sister knew fortune and success would never come from sitting idly at home.

“One must venture beyond the boundaries of the known and try their fortune in unknown lands and that is what she did,” she said.

Two years later, Sylvia thinks they might have made a terrible mistake by letting their sister leave for Saudi Arabia. She says the government should use its influence to bring her sister back home.