Tale of Kasaya
“Before I went in I asked to use the toilet. The roof was quite low and if I stood straight I would touch it. The piece of sheet separating the two had large holes and one could see the person in the other room. Both the toilet and bathroom were built on top of a drainage trench, on the floor were placed two trunks of wood each about twenty centimeters. They were slippery. One stepped on the wood and emptied on the space between them. This would be my first place of work in Nairobi.”
In 1991, Eva Kasaya, a 13-year old girl dropped out of school in rural Western Kenya and came to Nairobi to work as a domestic servant. For several years she was consistently physically and sexually harassed by subsequent employers. When she turned 19, she managed to go back to school and thereafter trained as a dressmaker. She also started writing about her life during this period, having never given up on becoming a published writer.
Tale of Kasaya traces her journey from girlhood to the present, her memoir reflects the plight of hundreds of domestic servants across Kenya. Eva’s story is one of courage, and survival that goes behind the closed doors of the Kenyan urban family to reveal spaces that we all recognize but refuse to acknowledge.
Read a review of Tale Of Kasaya by Andrew Doughman, published in The EastAfrican here.
Eva Kasaya currently lives with her son, Ben, in Western Kenya. She works as a clothing designer for Kuwesa, an organisation based at Kaimosi that reaches out to HIV widows by teaching them how to make clothing and crafts which they sell to earn a living.