Baptiste Hakizimana is a Rwandese driver who works with a DRC transport company based in Kenya. Below, he shares with Sunday Times’ Nyaciuma
Kangongoi whom he met in Kenya about his life and work:
Qn.When and where were you born?
A. I was born in 1980 in Nyamiramo, Rwanda.
Qn. What brought you to Kenya?
A. Prior to my coming to Kenya, I was at a technical institute in Rwanda by the name Eto-Muhima Institute where I was learning mechanics. In 2004, I came to Kenya to join Mombasa Polytechnic to further my mechanical studies. Unfortunately due to lack of funds, I did not finish my studies in the Institute.
Qn. What happened when you dropped from the technical Institute?
A. I had to look for employment as a matter of survival. I ended up being employed as a spanner boy at a garage in Mikindani, Mombasa.
It is here that I got experience in repairing as well as driving heavy commercial trucks. One of the clients here took me to be his driver in 2006 and I am still working for him up to now.
Qn. What does your work entail?
A. I am a long distance driver now. I normally drive from Mombasa to Kigali and vice versa. We normally load containerized cargo from the port of Mombasa which is destined for Kigali.
Most of them are for Transami and DHL. My training in mechanics comes in handy in case the truck breaks down.
Qn. What’s the experience like driving in Kenyan or Rwanda?
A. The major problem we have while driving on Kenyan roads is insecurity. There are a lot of thugs on the highway and it seems the authorities are unable to control them.
The thugs are high-tech since they can break the container while the truck is still in motion. I must comment here though that the Kenyan government is doing tremendously well in improving their infrastructure. Driving in Rwanda is relatively safe and relaxed.
Qn. What are the challenges you face in your day to day work?
A. Most of the time we are on the road driving. The time of having rest is inadequate. We hardly get time to be with our families.
Besides it is not a very pleasant experience to be in the jungle for several days especially when the truck has some mechanical breakdown.
Qn. Are you married?
A. Well, I am not married and am not in a hurry to. I have the responsibility of looking after my mom who lives in rural Rwanda. I am the only one she relies on. Maybe that will come later with time. I am still young anyway.
Qn. Where do you find yourself in five years to come?
A. I would have really wanted to study but that dream is slowly fading away. For now I would like to start a small business here in Kenya and possibly get a family and settle here for good.