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Washing clothes provides food for her family

By Benjamin Obegi | July 16th 2014

Nairobi, Kenya: For the last three years, Willimer Wafubwa, 31, has known only one kind of job: Washing clothes at an estate in Nairobi's South C. She wakes up early and walks from Mukuru Kwa Reuben slums in Embakasi and by 8am, she docks at the gates in the estate, ready for work. This has been her daily routine since she joined her husband in the city.

Although a humble job, Willimer beams with hope each day she wakes up, grateful that she can contribute to the family's income.

"For the past three years, I have used the little money I get to supplement my husband's meagre salary. Immediately I came to Nairobi, I joined a friend who has been washing clothes for the last five years. I realised that my husband’s monthly salary was not enough to feed us and spare some for the future and family projects. We are aware that as our children grow, their needs change, especially with regard to school.’’

Perhaps, it is what she takes home at the end of the day that gives her more hope. Depending on the size of the job, she can take take home about Sh400 on a good day.

She says, "Though I am not lucky everyday, I appreciate whatever I get. Weekends are our busiest days, as that is when many families prefer to wash after a busy week. At this time, our earnings may double or triple."

It is not an easy job but the fact that it enables her family enjoy a meal is enough to keep her going.

"It is a hard and unpredictable job, however, I have no choice but to take what comes my way. Sometimes I face a lot of mistreatment from clients, but I don't get discouraged, because I believe my lucky day is coming," says Willimer.

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