Testimony of Helen


‘Prison was the last place I ever imagined I would find my self. I always imagined how painful it would be for anyone, how cruel it would be to be separated from society. And well it is the worst place anyone could end up. Somehow I don’t really understand how an employer would find pleasure to punish a foreigner in the prison. Prison! Mine did. I couldn’t stay with them for another year after my contract ended and so that was reason enough to pin on an accusation.

It was supposed to be my happiest day. I was finally going home after finishing my contract but it never happened; instead I found myself handcuffed and being led to a cell on accusation that I had stolen my employers’ ring That was heartbreaking after giving the the best services I could ever do for anyone for 2 years.

Things did not end in the cell, I was later taken to prison and thats when my life started falling apart, I got depressed i was an alleged criminal and the truth to my eyes I was in what i once dreaded.  life was difficult I didn’t know how to adjust, this was not my place, I didn’t know anyone and worst of all I didn’t know any word of Arabic. It was all English and that was an added disadvantage. One of those cold days I was informed that I had my first court hearing, I was filled with hopes that after all there was the law that would prove me innocent and lead to my going home little did i know that it was the beginning of other hopeless days. I forgot that i was a foreigner infact I always thought it wouldnt matter, I thought that justice would never be evaded due to racial different but here the fact hit me, I was indeed the foreigner that didn’t have a right to justice and this became even clear as days went on.

I never had a lawyer. Anyway, where could I get one my consulate said openly he didn’t want to help, the Caritas on the other hand had nothing to offer except never ending promises that they would help but never to be fulfilled. Sometimes I would look at the Arabs in the prison and how their organisation worked hard to make sure that they we served right while on our side the foreigners were simply neglected, how else could you explain those girls and women who were stuck there for two or more years and didn’t even have a clue what life had for them.

I went for several court hearings that brought no fruit. I was never given the chance to have my say. after a few months my hearing was changed to Tripoli and here things became even more difficult, I was called every week I saw different judges each time and every time brought another next time reasons were I didn’t know Arabic, my accuser did not come, the consulate didn’t come sometimes I went sat in the court and never had a session and these are mostly the days when my employer or her lawyer never showed up.

The moment the truth sunk in my head that I would stay until my employer said it was enough, I accepted my situation no matter how hard it was. I had no one to count on. I would die there or live there like all other foreigners. I decided to leave everything to God. He never judges us according to our race or what country we came from.

After 11 months, more than 15 court hearings and 7 different judges,  God worked His way. I am out now but my life will never be the same again, my dreams may never come to a fulfillment, my documents and salary were denied to me. I can’t seem to move on, I am afraid of life and mostly my heart still cries for those I found and left there, those women whose children wait for everyday but never to see them, those young girls like me whose life came to a stand still, just because they don’t belong to that country, just because they don’t have anyone to fight for their rights- if they even have any. I wish could erase all these memories but somehow I cant but God is all powerful. He will one day bring justice for His people.’

Helen, KENYA

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