I was deported because of my heart problem

Jacinta Wanjiku, 26, had high hopes when she left for Lebanon as a housekeeper. But a visit to the doctor shattered her dreams.

You packed your bags, bid your family goodbye and headed to a foreign country. You must have been feeling excited, right?

 Of course! I had it all planned out. Work in Lebanon for two years, save a lot of money and come back home to start a business and go back to school.

You know that ka-feeling you have like it is Christmas Day? Little did I know my dream would come crashing right before my eyes. My contract was terminated and I was deported.

It must have been traumatising, losing your job at the same time fighting for your life?

It is not something I would not wish even on my worst enemy. I was torn, in anguish, to be precise. I loved my housekeeping job so much.

Did you wake up one morning and discovered you had a heart problem or there were red flags?

 One day, I woke up and felt an excruciating pain on my left side, but I ignored it. Weeks later, the pain became persistent and my employer took me to different hospitals but my condition was getting worse. That is when the doctors broke the news. I had a heart problem.

I had a condition called aortic regurgitation (this is where blood leaks back through the aortic valve because the valve does not close properly). I was deported so that I could seek medical attention in my country.

Did your employer chip in to cater for your medication?

My employers did their best to ensure that I was taken to the hospital for check up every time I fell sick.

All I can say is that they did their best to ensure I was treated until I ran out of cash and had to jet back home to seek cheaper medical attention.

What about your family?

 I am married with one kid. My husband took care of my child when I went to look for greener pastures in the Middle East. He has been my strength and inspiration because he has stayed by my side all these years that I have been sick.

His love has never changed. Though the burden has become heavy on my family, the love, care and emotional support is more than enough. Raising money for treatment is still a big challenge. I have exhausted all the money I had saved while in Lebanon.

 Did you try to seek treatment in India?

I held a fundraising in our home but it flopped. Our target was Sh1.5million, but we only managed to raise Sh10,000! Prayers were my only source of hope. 

The low turnout during the fundraising left me dejected, but I vowed to stay strong because deep down, I believe I have a purpose in this life.

Do you think you can overcome this disease?

Through prayers, I have faith that this is a passing cloud and God will restore my health. I’m determined to push harder until I get someone to assist me raise the funds needed to cater for my treatment.