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Eva Kasaya: The Mboch who wrote her story

So you have that house girl and you have been mistreating her. Are you that man who steals into the househelp’s panties when the missus is asleep? You thought that you would get away just because you fired her, and that she will keep quiet about it. Well, you’ve got another thought coming. Yes, your days are numbered…

Soon, house-helps will be telling their stories and exposing what a bad society we live in. They will reveal all and you will have nowhere to hide, nowhere!

And I am not talking about the future here. I am talking about Eva Kasaya, who felt that she needed to tell the story of her life as a house-help. Read on…

House-helps occupy a parallel space in society, where their services are much sought after, yet they are rarely appreciated.
Little wonder then that you will always hear employers bad-mouthing them, yet they readily acknowledge that they cannot do without them.
To appreciate how lowly most employers rate their house-helps, you only need to read in the media how they get routinely mistreated. The most recent case that comes to mind is the Kenyan girl, who was thrown from a storied building in Saudi Arabia, by her employer.
Yet, in all these instances, no one, apart from close relatives and friends, bothers to listen to their side of the story. Well, one former house-help has sought to change all that and has actually penned down the story of her life.
And you can trust Kwani Trust, who are always experimenting with different styles of writing, to be the ones to publish the book. Tales of Kasaya: Let us now Praise a Famous Woman, is a book that will probably get other house-helps rushing to tell their stories.
And if Eva Kasaya’s life story is anything to go by, boy do house-helps have stories to tell? “It is apparent that you have quite some information, only that you lack an audience,” thus goes a popular Kikuyu saying that would readily apply to Kasaya and any other house-helps out there who would be willing to pour out their hearts.
Told in the first person, Tales of Kasaya puts the reader in the turbulent world of house-helps. It is rendered with the freshness and simplicity of an impressionable village girl. Like most house-helps will testify, circumstances beyond their reach, mostly poverty back at home, lead them to take up such jobs.
Kasaya, who hails from Maragoli could not continue with her education beyond primary school, as her peasant parents could not afford it. After a stint as a house-help back in her rural home, she thought is was time she upgraded and sought employment in the big city of Nairobi. Her adventurous trip to Nairobi is a must-read for every person has a house-help. So are the trials and tribulations she undergoes from one employer to the other.
While the book makes for interesting reading, I am not sure about the bit about praise for a famous woman. Clearly, there is nothing in the narrative to make one think of the narrator as a famous woman.

UPDATE: A newer edition of the book was released with a changed title: Tale of Kasaya

3 replies on “Eva Kasaya: The Mboch who wrote her story”

This must be a moving story, and one of a kind I believe. Not many house helps in Africa get the opportunity to pursue education and become prolific writers, like Kasaya. In the developed world it is the opposite. Many people put themselves through school thanks to babysiting., and there is a movie “Maid in Manhattan” featuring a maid, I believe. I hope the book encourages other house helps to do like Kasaya by investing in their education. I am not as much interested in the exposing of patrons and matrons that much, for even the house help who yields to the patron’s advances, sneaks food or clothes out, or steals from the grocery money, is as guilty to me. Nice job, Mr, Ngunjiri. Keep sharing. VS

I am yet to read the book though I have heard her talk and was quite impressed. She is an inspiration other househelps out there swimming in the same boat; very articulate and focused! Looking forward to reading her book and I believe it is a must read to all of us.

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