Letter from Rita


sorry to bother you at this hour, i just need to talk to someone before i explode, and my brother will get mad n start telling me i told you not to go there…..he worries a lot. i feel so worthless like a piece of shit.

my self esteem is going down, i’ve been labelled so many names, a prostitute stands out, making men see me as a sex object here asking me for sex all the time, harassing me, trying to force… am starting to think when they look at me they see a big black virgin not an African girl.

now am still working and its past ten on a sunday am so tired i can hardly stand or walk. my back is killing me, i’ve been running around with kids the whole day, preparing the house, the front yard, the back yard for his guests. my boss doesn’t even care if i’ve eaten. me and the other girl who is sleeping right now have to wait for our bosses to eat, then the bodyguards and then us, at times nothing is left, and they don’t care they just tell you go and eat, you are big you can think for yourself so go cook, at times there is nothing to cook.

the lady we stay with counts her food, including pieces of meat in the pan. we are at her mercy often times we are forced to go hungry, steal food, or hide it. otherwise we are given food passed its expiry date. at times coz of hunger we just eat and handle the stomach aches. i feel like a piece of garbage, am loosing my self worth, am being labelled a prostitute just because i’m social. when my boss is entertaining and his friends come with bodyguards, they don’t stop harassing me, even when i get so mad like now n tell them i don’t appreciate being touched. they just say “sorry you really are mad“, then they proceed to ask for sex, sneak up on me n grab something.

i am so mad right now i cant even cry. i feel so helpless, am scared to say something coz they hav guns n tempers the size of a hippo. wen i try to tell someone they blame me! n say i shoudn’t talk to men, i should dress nicely n nt show my body, and mind you the tight trousers am wearing they are the ones who gave them to me. i’ve never worn my clothes here…

its like am in prison when people are over am not allowed to be seen with my phone even like right now am doing nothing but waiting for him to finish from the guests,he says he will throw it away so i’m hiding as am writing to you.  i feel like a slave, a working machine slave, sleep late, wake up early, u eat u don’t eat you sort yourself. it’s ur problem. once in a while guilt strikes them then u eat good. most times its u n God.

no wonder a lot of the girls i have met n talked to r sad and withdrawn, behaving like slaves, do what the master says, don’t think, most of them have tried getting out of the contract but to no avail. i look at them n i see sad, worn out faces, dragging their tired, overworked bodies others have a different story, most of them seem to have lost it, they move from one house to the next, hoping by the time they get to the next house two or three years will be over then they can go back home.

my boss is still entertaining guests, lord knows when he’ll be through. please forgive me for burdening you with this. i don’t even want to be sitting down n talking about why i want to be out, coz talking means we can resolve things, and i don’t want to stay in this condition, even if they give me a million liras i just wanna go home. am too tired to even doze, my body especially my legs n back are in so much pain i don’t know if i’ll sleep tonight.

please if you can help me, i will forever be grateful, i know i bought this on myself, my family n friends warned me n i didn’t listen, i was in so much debt at that time,  all i saw was clearing them n thank God for lebanon i’ve cleared all of them. forgive me for burdening u with all this and thank u. God bless you n gudnyt.”

Rita is still in Lebanon.
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