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Kenya

Sahro Ilmi Muhumed, 33

Refugee from Jijiga, Ethiopia, now living in the neighbourhood of Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya.

I left Jijiga seven years ago. My husband and I came from different tribes, he was Oromo and I am Somali. Sadly my husband was killed when I was pregnant with my second son. I was living with my in-laws and they began to mistreat me. It got so bad that I had to leave after my sister-in-law pushed me and I was badly burnt by boiling water. I was not even taken to the hospital. I was given some traditional medicine until I got better. My in-laws felt Oromos and Somalis shouldn't marry, they mistreated me all the time; when eating, when resting, in every way I was mistreated.

I left for Dire Dawa and hid. I was afraid they would come after me and take my children. Then I went to Addis Ababa where I found work as a maid with a Somali family. Life in Addis Ababa is very expensive; I could not rent a house so when I got my first pay cheque after a month, I left. I went to Moyale and stayed for a year. In Moyale I met a man and got married and we had a baby boy. This man used to work between Nairobi and Moyale and he brought me to Nairobi. Here his relatives and friends shouted at him, ‘who is this woman? She is from Ethiopia you don't know people from Ethiopia, they are thieves, they are dirt!’ He was married to another woman and his relatives accused him of spending his money on me because I have other children from another husband. So he took off and went to Libya, he wanted to cross by sea to Europe. While in Libya he called me and said, ‘I've left Nairobi and I've divorced you.’ He didn't tell me he was leaving, he just disappeared.

After giving birth my baby had problems with his penis. I went to the local hospital and then to Kenyatta Hospital. The doctor who examined him said he had no experience of dealing with his condition and told me to go back to the people who referred me in the first place.

It is very difficult for me now. Just paying the rent and feeding ourselves is enough of a problem without my son’s medical condition. I have hope because I have faith in God. He can help us whenever he wants. I believe something good will happen.