Though nothing comes on your way without a struggle,Truckers in Kenya gets their meager wages in the hard way.Their employers don't care about their welfare and all they care is their cargo to reach the destination.The driver starts from the port of Mombasa headed for Rwanda ,Burundi,Congo,or Malawi without knowing when he will be back and whatever will happen on the way. He bids farewell to his family and off he hits the road. The obstacles he finds on the journey are nightmares where even the employers refuse to rescue them and if they are arrested the employer comes for the truck and leaves the driver in the cells. Stigma ,Fatigue, Police harassment,money extortion is the order of the day for a trucker in Kenya ,Then comes the greatest enemy of all, THE SEX WORKERS who lures the truckers for sex in exchange for money ,and bearing in mind this trucker has been away from his spouse for more than a month, the temptations are high when these sex workers comes to them barely naked and that's when the trucker forgets everything and transmission of HIV/AIDS begin there.
There is more to tell about truckers and their tribulations.The KENYA LONG DISTANCE TRUCK DRIVERS AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION is now using the community life competence by holding SALT visits and SELF ASSESSMENTS TO THE TRUCKERS and educate them on their rights and how to prevent themselves.
There is more to be done but every journey starts with one step which we have already started.
SAMUEL

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Comment by Petronilla B. Khamusali on October 26, 2010 at 3:59pm
Hallow everyboy, I concur with Sammy and Carol from Mlolongo. It is high time truck drivers' welfare be put in lme light. I would urge the Union of Long Distance Workers to join hands wth the Trade Unions e.g. COTU to make good the conditions under which the truck drivers operate. The following could also be enhanced; Supportive HIV workplace policies be enhanced in compnies empolying the truckers, safer practices for truckers - condom use, knowledge and education to build the capacity of the truckers be enhanced and psychosocial support to truckers since HIV is a virus and not a moral issue.
Comment by CAROL NJERI NDUNGU on October 26, 2010 at 2:23pm
I really agree with my colleague Samuel the truck drivers go through thick and thin as much as this is the reality we as the union are doing everything we can.we may not stop the behaviour but we can advocate for safe sex.

Carol.
Comment by Clement Chacha on October 25, 2010 at 2:20pm
Hi Samuel, this is a typical life of any long distance truck driver not only in Kenya but in all Great Lakes countries and many more. They face a number of challenges and hence require some skills to overcome those challenges. Since divers in great lakes interact, I am sure they will be able to transfer the skills to each other. Shortly, whatever achievement on the Kenyan side will be easily transferred to other Great Lakes countries. I think sex workers and truckers will co-exist but non should cause the other to risk life.
Bravo Samuel and the entire Kenyan team. Hope you will maintain the momentum and continue sharing successful stories.

Clement
Comment by ann njeri on October 25, 2010 at 12:58pm
great work and though samuel.As we know truck drivers are at the most risky group.we need to empower them and not isolate them .we need not to shy off and call a spade a spade not a big spoon.they need love and affection from their family and close friends.
Comment by Gaston on October 22, 2010 at 10:27pm
Samuel, great sharing on the first step. The intention is important. Now after this warm-up, I am eager to hear the stories afterwards. It's not an easy environment obviously. Does CLCP reveal dormant capacities in such a place as well?
Comment by Laurence Gilliot on October 22, 2010 at 9:28pm
Wonderful Samuel, you are doing great work and changing people's life. I admire the courage and commitment of you and your team.
I guess that when a trucker has such a hard life, in order to survive mentally, he needs time to relax, to enjoy a moment during the day, to have some affection from someone. I guess some truckers find that with sex workers. But these needs are universal needs.We all need to take a break, to relax, we need love and affection. So these are just human needs.
Now the question is how to meet these needs without risking your life...?

Laurence
Comment by Onesmus Mutuku on October 22, 2010 at 3:12pm
A big applause to you Sammy and the rest of the SALT Team in Mlolongo and Mombasa.

Onesmus
Comment by Marlou on October 22, 2010 at 2:52pm
Samuel, I am very happy to read the continued engagement of the Kenya Truckers! Please share how the community life competence process is helping to make a difference. What are the changes you see after the SALT visits and the self-assessments? Be well, Marlou

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