Tragic end to a woman's big dreams

Business

By Philip Mwakio

She wanted to live on the fast lane and chose to achieve it in a foreign country. But six months later, Rose Adhiambo called from the Lebanese capital Beirut, requesting special prayers. "Tomorrow is the D-Day, please pray for me," she told her aunt, Margaret Olwande two weeks ago. These were to be Adhiambo’s last words as she planned an escape from her employer.

The 24 year-old woman from Nyanza, has now gone missing and is presumed dead.

She is said to have fallen to her death from the sixth floor of a building in a bungled bid to escape from a house where she worked as house help.

Adhiambo’s relatives Nahashon Olwande, Margaret Olwande (center) and Eunice Okudo at their home in Mombasa. They want the government to investigate what may have happened to Adhiambo in Beirut.Photos: Omondi Onyango/Standard

A Lebanese newspaper, Al-Akhbar, reported on September 1 that a Kenyan immigrant worker was found dead on a first floor balcony of a building after falling from the sixth floor in Beirut’s Sahel Alma area.

"She was trying to go down hanging on a nylon rope from her employer’s house, according to Police reports," the newspaper reported.

Now Adhiambo’s relatives in Kenya believe their daughter could either be dead or was in grave danger.

Her employer has confirmed her death through an agent but has declined to speak to her relatives.

House help

The woman worked as house help and had been complaining about slavery-like working conditions. She got the job through an agent based in Mombasa last December and relatives now regret why they allowed her to travel to Lebanon.

Olwande says her niece was an ambitious girl determined to have a better future.

Adhiambo got her early education in Kisumu before travelling to Mombasa where she joined her relatives. Her parents, Maurice and Jael Otete who live in Nairobi believed their daughter had landed a good job in the Middle East.

"We did not know the kind of job she was going to do in Beirut," says Alfred Otete, Adhiambo’s elder brother.

It later turned out that Adhiambo tried to escape when life became unbearable.

Her phone went dead soon after and neither her employer nor the agent in Mombasa would offer an explanation.

Her brother Alfred later turned to social network, Face book to help trace his sister.

"I spent several hours browsing for any possible information but without success," he says

Adhiambo’s elder sister, Ms Sylvia Odhiambo told The Stadard that her sibling always wanted to retun home and suspect she may have been killed by her employer or was being detained.

"They claimed she jumped to her death from the sixth floor of a building, but a Kenyan friend who lives on the outskirts of Beirut denies ever hearing about such an incident," says Odhiambo.

Rose Adhiambo  

She adds: "Her employer called to say he would send the body to Kenya after three days but he has not called again and his phones are off. He also refused to tell us where the body is being kept."

Ms Odhiambo says they have tried to contact Lebanese consulate in Nairobi with no success. The Mombasa- based agent who recruited Adhiambo has not been of any help either.

"When we pressurised him, he gave us names of four different hospitals. We called the hospitals but none had the body of an African in their morgues," says Ms Olwande.

Employer

But Mr Ali Muhamad of Inter-Lead Limited says he is not to blame for Adhiambo’s woes.

"Our business ends after we find a sponsor (employer). We do not know how she ended up in Lebanon,’’ Muhamad said. He confirmed Adhiambo had died but did not know when the body would be flown home.

The family is seeking help from the government to send a relative to Beirut to get Adhiambo, dead or alive.

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