When the bus from Kakamega approached its final destination Mombasa with tens of passengers,Praxidese sat timidly clinching on to her little bag carrying all her earthly possessions.
She was depressed,sad and her future was uncertain.What’s even more,she knew no one in Mombasa and she didn’t have a place to stay on arrival.But the city carried hope for a better future for her.
It is the problems and poverty in the village that pushed her to look for a better life in the big city,Mombasa.And the desire to fend for her two months old daughter.It was in 2005 and she was barely 18.
The daughter she was certainly not prepared to have.It is the nausea and the sickness in high school that made her matron suspect she was pregnant.Mind you she was in form 4 and her KCSE was around the corner.
She did her exams heavily pregnant and a week after completing the exams,she gave birth.A teenager,with a premature baby and kicked out of home by her father,she had to “woman up”.
Luckily her aunt took her in though she was absolutely poor.When she gave birth at home to a pre-term Baby they didn’t have money to take the It to hospital.They begged the doctors with the promise to pay later but they could hear none of it.
Luckily the child did not die.When the child got to two months she had to leave her behind to look for a better future.A job .And the aunt was kind enough to accept to remain behind wit h it.
She had happened to start a small chat with the lady she had sat next to in the bus .She had agreed to host her for just one night.The lady was married and lived in a single room.
The next day Praxidese had to leave and figure out what to do with herself.And that was the perfect time to test how far she could stretch.”I was confident that I would make it somehow”,she tells us.
It is when times got tough that she wished her mother was alive.She had died when she was in form 1 and maybe if she was alive,she would have consoled her.Maybe she would have helped her when she was kicked out by the father or even to help her with the baby.
She slept on benches in clubs before she was able to rent her own mud house at 8 dollars a month.She did all manner of jobs.Housegirl,washing clothes,waitress,bartender.You name it.
That way she was able to put food on her table and she managed to send money back home.In her death bed,the mother told her to take care of her siblings.Being a first born,her words rang on the back of her head every single day.
Around that time they reconciled with the father.Though not well to do,he paid for her a course in airport operations.And though she never got a job then,the course will soon be useful when she starts her new job at Frankfurt airport.
“It’s when I worked as a house girl that I realized how domestic workers are looked down upon.Insults,humiliation,physical abuse.I am proud of my past and that is why I call myself “The proud African house-girl”.”I use to my story to inspire others especially women”,she opines.
She tells us she kept hope alive as she was going through all this.”I always knew that my tomorrow would be better and that for anyone to get to another level he/she has to kill many giants”,she says.
Things had started looking better.She could make a little amount of money and her daughter was nourishing.The father of the daughter denied responsibility from the word go.
Love would find her by the shores of Indian Ocean one fine afternoon.It is when she met her now husband.It was love at first sight she says.It didn’t take long before he proposed,had a mega wedding and late last year she moved to Germany with him.
Since then her life has never been the same again.”My husband was my saving grace and moving to Europe has made me change my perspective on many issues.It is a land of opportunities and I have had a chance to regain my esteem and courage”.
The house-girl is now the face of Kenya Cultural Fashion Show in Germany and a business woman.And she has not forgotten her motherland.Her humble beginning.Her roots.Soon her daughter will be joining her.
She recently founded an initiative called “Black and white women and men group” to support and give hope to people and especially those at margins of society.Though it is an online platform,today she will launch it at Kafein Bistro at 2pm and she expects hundreds of her fans and people she inspires.She will also be doing a motivational talk.
Praxidese says that given a chance anyone can achieve their dreams and encourages people that delay is not denial.At a young age of 30,Praxidese has faced so much and triumphed so much that she decided to write a book.
“From Kenya to Germany” is its title.
In this book she lays bare her struggle,a succession of unfortunate events but in the end it shows the power of the human spirit determined to succeed against all odds.
See photos below: