I want to come home, but I'm stuck in Syria over Sh493,000 ‘debt’

Ms Zura Lumasa Lung’aso kenyan syria

Ms Zura Lumasa Lung’aso, 28. She says she had no idea that she would end up in Syria when she left Kenya on June 26 last year.

Photo credit: Courtesy | Ms Zura Lumasa Lung’aso

For a whopping Sh493,000, Zura Lumasa Lung’aso, 28, will be able to buy her freedom from a scary employer in Damascus, Syria, and come home. 

Interestingly, the mother of two daughters, aged 13 and 11, had no idea that she would be heading to Syria when she left the country on June 26 last year. She knew she would be going to a city in Saudi Arabia; a country where she had previously worked for two years before her contract expired and she came back home.

Working in a house where the owner has piled loads of guns that his children would play with, running with them around the house and the outer garden and aiming them at each other for fun, is not exactly what she had anticipated.

She said: “I am very worried. The children at times come with the guns in the kitchen, cork and aim them at each other, at times at me, then pretend to shoot and nothing is as scary as that. It may be a game but what if they actually fire it one day and it gets me?”

Her employer is too scary for her to even approach. What troubles her mind is the fact that the agent, identified as Jospeh Njenga, who facilitated her travel and visa acquisition process told her there was nothing he could do about her case.

He further added that he was not the actual agent and that the person to talk to was a woman called Jane Thiong’o.

She contacted Ms Thiong’o around October last year. It has been a cat-and-mouse game ever since. At first, an official at Damascus-based Unique Global Genuine Agencies, identified as Sam, was sent to speak with her employer in November.

Ms Lung’aso had specifically asked that she be taken back to the office since she no longer felt safe working in that house.

“Sam and the boss spoke in a separate room. I could not understand anything since they spoke in Arabic. He then left me with my employer and things did not get any better. Hunger, constant criticism and contempt became the order of the days there,” she told the Nation.

Come November, the hapless Lung’aso sought Ms Thiong’ o again and asked that she be taken back to Kenya since the working conditions were getting worse. She was asked to be patient as there were no flights from Syria to Kenya via Dubai and that things would change in less than a month.

But first, several things had to be done before her departure. They included the termination of the contract she signed, vetting by the agency, purchase of flight tickets and payment for visa.

“Sam told me that, to come back to Kenya, I needed to pay $4,000 [Sh493, 000]. Where would I get such an amount yet I was being paid $250 per month and I had even finished the first three months without pay?” she posed.

A thread of text messages between Ms Lung’asa and Ms Thiong’o shows much was kept from the former, who did not even know that close to half a million was paid to the agency by her employer to get her to Syria.

With no Kenyan Embassy in Syria, Ms Lung’asa is living in fear and doesn’t know what will happen to her.

“I have nowhere to turn to. There is no embassy to help me here. The office sent someone who came and left me here. What if I get accidentally shot for causing trouble. My agent, Jane, is talking very coldly to me. I am not sure I will even see my two daughters again. Please, help me get back home,” she pleaded.


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