Wesi Elizabeth Kongla, Cameroonian Working Under “Slave Conditions” Returns Home From Lebanon

Wesi Elizabeth Kongla, the Cameroonian Lady who sent a distress call about her poor treatment by her Lebanese host arrived the Douala International Airport at 12:08am today Thursday, March 28.

She was received upon arrival by her relatives who had confirmed to Mimi Mefo Info that Elizabeth was not properly treated as a domestic worker in Lebanon.

Elizabeth Kongla is now able to see her son for the first time, after three months, and to her “it is one of the best feelings and I can only thank God for bringing me home safely… ” she told Mimi Mefo Info.

Wesi Elizabeth Longla expressed her desire to return to Cameroon after she felt cheated as the amount promised her as salary was not fully paid.
She also complained about poor living conditions and working without rest.

Days back, Mimi Mefo info received a distress call from Elizabeth calling on the government of Cameroon to liberate her from the hands of her “captors” before she dies of hard labour and maltreatment.

Wesi Elizabeth Kongla, 34, confided in Mimi Mefo Info, that a small foam on the floor had been her bed since she arrived Lebanon.
“I work from Monday to Monday without rest. I eat mostly once a day and they will only give me food at 4:00pm…,” she recounted.
Elizabeth was serving a certain Camel Yassen in Tyre, a city in South Lebanon, and said she was being forced by her host to sign a document written in Arabic.
“I don’t know what is written in the document they are asking me to sign,” she cried out.

She added that: “The 250 dollars promised me as monthly pay is not being respected. They have been giving me just 200$ so far, when I asked why, the man threatened me and asked me to repay him 2800$…” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth said a Lebanese woman in Cameroon processed her documents to be a domestic staff to her mother in Lebanon.
She said:
“My small sister is working with one woman from Lebanon in Cameroon. The woman asked her if she had a sister that will like to work in Lebanon with her parents.
Then she asked and I was interested because I didn’t have a job in Cameroon. I agreed. The woman told me she will arrange all my travel documents and arrangements so that I will come work with her parents. She said my monthly pay will be, 250$ and they will take responsibility for everything. My passport was done and sent me to Yaounde to go and sign the contract and I did as she said. But when I arrived here, I was sleeping on the floor on a small foam and I eat mostly once a day. I will stay from morning till 4:00pm before they will give me small food. So when I made one month, they paid me but 200$. When I wanted to ask, the man threatened me…”

Elizabeth says the contract she signed in Yaounde specified that, she was going to work for two years with a 250$ monthly salary with an accommodation provided. But she just realized it is not being respected.
“If they have a hint that I’m not happy or that I’m trying to report back home, I will be in trouble…,” she adds.
Elizabeth’s lone desire, is to return to her country.
In the wake of similar reports of Cameroonians being ill treated by their hosts in Kuwait, Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East, the government of Cameroon promised to work with immigration authorities of the said countries to guarantee the protection of its citizens. But the rights of Cameroonian women who embark on these perilous journeys are still being violated.
Speaking to a renown female Lebanese journalist and right defender, she said Lebanon is yet to restore order in the sector, but its the right of each country to mount pressure on the Lebanese government to ensure the protection of its citizens.
Zahera Harb cited the example of Philippine government which is foreseeing the protection of its nationals recruited as domestic workers in Lebanon against violence.
She said the victims could also contact newly created syndicates defending the rights of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon.
Elizabeth says reaching out to any of these organizations will be risky for her for she knows not what may befall her.

Meantime, a Lebanese family residing in Cameroon which facilitated Elizabeth’s departure said the latter’s claims were false and baseless.

Hisham Darwish, speaking for his wife whose parents are being taken care of, by Elizabeth said they agreed to pay 120.000frs which is equivalent to 250dollars “but as the dollar rate changes, that’s why it dropped from 250 to 206 dollars which is now the official exchange rate on the internet.
So when she argued, we made her to understand it is good to pay her is Francs CFA (120.000frs) monthly, to avoid any misunderstanding. But she has continued to insist that her salary should be 250$,” Hisham Darwish said.

About the treatment meted on Wesi Elizabeth by her host, Mr Hisham said her claims are untrue and baseless.
That his family is a reputable one and cannot hurt a fly. He claims he is working with the victim’s sister in Cameroon who has never complained.
He says reports of maltreatment of domestic workers in Lebanon is not true as the government and police are working hard to protect the rights of foreign domestic workers.
MMI sought to know about the girl’s protection and safety and in his own words, he said, “nothing will happen to her because she lives with good people. They are not criminals…”

But Elizabeth told her she was threatened after the story went viral on the social media.
The man has insisted that he did not threaten her, but in an audio discussion with the girl after the article, he is threatening to file a lawsuit in Cameroon and in Lebanon against Elizabeth.
Hisham Darwish also told MMI that her passport was not seized and that it was a normal immigration procedures being carried out.

Mimi Mefo info facing legal threats:
Meantime, a Lebanese residing in Douala has threatened to drag Mimi Mefo Info to Court for investigating and exposing the maltreatment of Wesi Elizabeth in Lebanon.
Mr. Hisham Darwish in a telephone call to one of the reporters of the news site says he will seek justice because Mimi Mefo info “delved into his family issues, intimidation and racism”.
Recently, Mimi Mefo Info published two articles about the ugly conditions under which Wesi Elizabeth was working as a domestic servant to the mother-in-law of Mr Hisham Darwish back in Lebanon.
Contacted on phone in Douala, Hisham Darwish who facilitated the travel of Elizabeth for the job denied all the facts presented by Elizabeth describing her as a ‘bloody liar’.
According Nadesh, another Cameroonian girl working as a domestic servant to the Hisham Darwish family in Cameroon, “…Mr. Hisham wants to use me to defend his family which is unfair to my liking…”

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