DUBAI EXPAT STORIES. ‘Prayer, a cup of coffee…and I’m off to work!’

Stellamaris Kioko of Kenya’s Kamba tribe hopes to one day have her own fashion label.

Stellamaris Kioko gets up early, shakes off the sleepy head in her and starts going about her morning ritual of prayer, a quick shower and a cup of coffee.

“Then I’m off to work,” she says. 

It’s her daily grind, if you will, and she really doesn’t mind, she said.

Stella, as her peers fondly call her, arrived in Dubai two years ago to try her luck in the city. A high school graduate, Stella speaks good conversational English.  She works as a sales staff at a fashion clothing store.

What keeps her going? “My job and my family back home,” Stella says.

“Since I was young, I have always liked fashion and beauty. So, I find it easy assisting customers in choosing their desired clothing; and it’s always my happiness seeing them walk out with their face full of joy,” says Stella, mother of a 17-year-old lass in Kenya.

Stella said she believes she would have been a fashion designer herself. Launching her label and opening a fashion house, she says, is always in her mind.

“Yes, that will be my future business, in God’s will,” said Stella.

Stella said her life has not been easy, “but I keep on hoping that one day I will achieve my dreams.”

Hers is the story of most of Dubai’s everyday people – the ones you see at the store, or sitting next to the Nol card window at the metro; the waiter at the restaurant…the sweaty Indian guy at the shawarma café…the Nepalese at a Carrefour counter…and more.

“I like my work very much,” says Stella, adding that she especially like interacting with customers.

“Engaging different people in a conversation makes my day easy, and the fact that I am far from my family, sharing smiles with them makes me feel as if I am home; my job is my second home,” says Stella.

Dubai is her first city away from Kenya and she loves the place.

“I can confidently say Dubai is my second home. The security makes us feel confident about our safety,” she says.

But, you can’t have your cake and eat it too; Stella says housing in the city centers is expensive. Can’t complain though because she makes up for it by unwinding at Dubai’s marina area on weekends or during day-offs.

“It’s a breathtaking place. The view and all… beautiful place to relax your mind,” she says.

The Kamba tribe is one of the largest ethnic group in Kenya. There is a small community of Kenyans in Dubai.


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