I grew up in a rural village in Mombasa County. When I completed my high school education, I moved to the city to look for work. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I tried my hand in everything I could. Eventually, I landed a job in a hotel as a dancer. That was the first job that I genuinely enjoyed and felt like it could take me places. I especially wanted to meet a rich white man who would marry me so I would have to work another day in my life. There were many white men who asked me to marry them but I wanted to marry a young man so I declined their offer. Then, my knight in shining armour finally came. I met a young, handsome, Black American man at the hotel and he took an interest in me.
We spent every day together for two weeks before he left to go back to his country.
“I’ll be back soon.” He promised.
“Okay. I’ll miss you.”
Sure enough, he came back the same year for my birthday. He brought me lots of gifts from America including a promise ring that he would marry me. It became clear that he was serious about me and that he really wanted to make me his wife.
I couldn’t stop talking about my American boyfriend. My family insisted that they wanted to meet him so before leaving, we went to visit them. They liked him and gave us their blessing.
We continued our long-distance relationship then he asked me to apply for an immigrant visa so I could live in America with him. The visa application process was so stressful and in the end, my application was rejected.
Nonetheless, Dan was there for me. He decided to treat me to a holiday in Dubai to get my mind off things. I kept thinking how lucky I was to have met the American man. After that trip, I started getting pregnancy symptoms and I found out I was pregnant shortly after. I was scared to tell Dan at first since I didn’t know if he would deny it. However, my mother encouraged me to tell him.
“I need to tell you something,” I said to him on video call.
“Oh my God, that’s amazing.” He said excitedly.
I could finally relax knowing that he wasn’t going to abandon me because of the pregnancy.
He came back to Kenya a few months later and we did a civil wedding so that we could start the marriage visa application and hopefully move to America before my due date.
However, the process was so challenging that it took a toll on me. I didn’t get the visa on time and I had to go through an emergency c-section since my baby was overdue. I delivered a healthy baby boy but that was the beginning of my woes.
As soon as I delivered, Dan ghosted me. He stopped answering my calls and messages. I didn’t have money to buy anything since I couldn’t work and my American man wasn’t responding to my messages. It was so bad that I stopped producing milk at 4 months and had to switch to formula.
Eventually, I had to move back home since I didn’t have an income and I had a baby to take care of. I struggled for two years to raise my child without the help of his father.
Someone advised me to get a divorce from him so that I could marry someone else who was willing to take care of me and my son.
“I know you don’t want anything to do with us but I’m begging you to come back to the country one more time so we could get a divorce.” I messaged him.
The message went unanswered.
Since I was still married to an American and had a child with him, I decided to apply for a visa for my child. Luckily, the visa application was successful and I could finally move to America. By that time, I had reconciled with Dan and he was more than happy to welcome us to America.
He had organized a small welcome party together with my in-laws and his friends. Things looked promising and my mother-in-law even helped me get work in a hospice.
A few days after I moved to America, Dan started abusing me. It started with verbal abuse. He would call me derogatory names and say that I was an African fool. Then, it progressed to physical abuse. He would beat me up in the middle of the night and at times, my son would wake up to find me being beaten up. My American Prince Charming had turned into a monster.
After months of physical and verbal abuse, my friends helped me get a new place and I moved out with my child. However, I was still willing to co-parent with Dan. He was cooperative at first and the arrangement seemed to be working out.
I wanted to attend a Samidoh concert so I asked him to take our son for the night.
“Fine, but you need to pick him up as soon as you come back from the concert.” He said.
I knew that I would come back late so I decided to take my son to his grandmother instead.
When I got to the concert, I found Dan waiting in the parking lot. He beat me so badly and accused me of keeping his child away from him. I don’t know how I drove to the hospital but I made it. They told me that they couldn’t treat me until I filed a police report even though I was reluctant. The police came and I made a report. Dan was arrested that same night. I stayed in the hospital for a couple of days since Dan had beat me so badly. Luckily, my mother-in-law took care of my son until I was discharged.
My friends helped me to get a restraining order. I eventually got a divorce from Dan. However, he filed a child custody case to take full custody of our son which I’m still dealing with to this day.
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