Distraught family demand answers over mother-of-three's death in Saudi Arabia

Miriam Kerubo (inset) worked for only three months as a house help. Left, her children Alfred Alice, James, and husband Vincent Ototo. [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]

When Miriam Kerubo, 33, left the country for Saudi Arabia last September, she promised her husband and their three children that she will be back in two years with enough money to cater for their basic needs.

Kerubo reached her destination, worked for only three months as a house help and died mysteriously.

Her husband Vincent Ototo only got to know on January 7 that his wife died on December 19, with nobody clearly explaining what happened.

Ototo, 36, told The Standard after the burial of his wife at their Rigena-Bokinami village home in Nyamache Sub-County, Kisii County, last week, that it took them more than three months for her body to be brought home for burial.

Miriam Kerubo. [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]

“My wife was in good health when she left the country at the end of September, last year. The last time we communicated was towards the end of November when she told me she would send me money to take care of our family needs since she knew we had nothing,” said Ototo.

The widower said he has been unwell for some time and that when his wife left for Saudi Arabia, he was bedridden and could not cater for the basic needs of the family through his farming activities prompting his wife to look for a way to take care of the family.

Ototo said that due to the stories about the tough life those doing domestic jobs in Saudi Arabia underwent, he was against his wife going but she insisted since she knew of women who had turned around the lives of their families for the better by going to the foreign country.

He said the last time she heard from his wife was when she sent a woman who was travelling back to Kisii to bring them Sh13,500 but he was left wondering how she stayed for an entire month without inquiring whether the money had reached home since he did not have her contacts.

“When I spoke to my wife last in November, last year, she told me everything was okay and that she only missed eating ugali since in Saudi Arabia she only ate rice. She promised to work hard so that she could be back home by the end of her contract in two years’ time,” said Ototo.

Vincent Ototo (left), Alfred,15, Alice, 12, and James, 9, were inconsolable. [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]

Their children Alfred,15, Alice, 12, and James, 9, were inconsolable as they remembered the last time they spent with their mother.

The three children, who are pupils at Nyabigonkoru Primary School, said they do not know how their lives will be without their mother.

Speaking during the funeral, Kisii County Assembly Deputy Speaker Davins Onuso called on the government to intervene to help the family get justice since it was unlikely Kerubo committed suicide as it is being alleged, terming it as a cover-up.

“We are demanding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes a follow-up on the mysterious death of Miriam Kerubo,” said Onuso.