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Trucking For A Living 

By Edwin Ndangoh

CameroonPostline.com — Truck pushing has, over the years, been the source of livelihood to many young Cameroonians, who cannot find jobs easily. This explains why it is common to see men between the ages of 12 and 45 spread in market entrances in major cities in the country, calling out for traders or buyers, who want to ferry their luggage from motor parks into the markets or from the markets to various destinations.

Njukang, doing what he likes best

George Njukang, 30, is a truck pusher based in Ekona, a small roadside town in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. Njukang, who has been in truck business for half his life, says he is the bread winner of an extended family. “I have been into truck pushing for about fifteen years now, and have been able to make a living for myself and my entire family from the small money I gather on a daily basis,” says Njukang, during a chat with this reporter at the Ekona market.

Njukang, now President of Ekona Truck Pushers Union, had earlier started off as a beetle exporter to Europe until he clashed with his brother whom he said was also engaged in the same business. Then he stopped the business and settled for truck pushing.

Going only beyond primary school where he obtained the First School Living Certificate, Njukang was left with no other choice than engaging into truck pushing in order to earn a living.
Njukang told The Post that at an early stage of truck pushing, he was confronted with a lot of difficulties like social alienation from friends and family members who regarded the job as mean.

One of his main problems is that he has for some time now been searching for a woman to take in as a wife but cannot have one because all the girls he has approached keep rejecting him for what he is and for what he is doing (truck pushing). But even these upheavals will not stop him, as he keeps on doing his truck business.

“I don’t care what people might say, even if I’m rejected by all the women in this world I will not stop doing what I love most. It is through truck pushing that I am helping my sister, sponsoring her children to school and even taking care of my entire family,” says Njukang. Njukang added that he is almost completing a house that he started building a few months ago, thanks to the truck business that has made him very comfortable in life and money is no longer his problem.

Njukang says he has been advising fellow colleagues on the essence of creating a truck pushing union. He says his initiative has been successful with the creation of the Muea and the Ekona Truck Pushers Unions that comprise fellow pushers from each of the above mentioned towns. He was also elected President of Ekona Truck Pushers Union because of his commitment and steadfastness in the job.

Based on his enthusiasm and the number of customers that approach him, Njukang can make FCFA 10.000 per market day. And in a month, he is sure of saving FCFA 50.000 to FCFA 55.000.
He advises fellow youth to embrace whatever job they want to do.

“Don’t be shy in doing whatever thing you deem necessary, be it truck pushing, or be embarrassed because of what you do. Most importantly, stealing should never be your portion if you must succeed in this life, especially in the truck business, because customers rely on you for the safety of their goods,” Njukang said.

In the Great Soppo market, rookies in the truck business have a registration fee to pay. “All new comers in the truck business register with FCFA 500 to older members during a joint meeting by the rest of the old members,” says Vitalise Taiouv, a truck pusher in the Great Soppo market.  

Taiouv said all the truck pushers in the Great Soppo market pay FCFA 100 to council officials each market day. And though they lack a union, they know each other and are able to recover any missing item and return it immediately to a customer.

A Muea-based truck pusher, Noel Teh, who has been in the truck business for just a year, says they face a lot of challenges. He says each of them pays a registration fee of FCFA 2.500 before they start operating.

“The Muea Community Council had demanded FCFA 2.500 each as registration fee to all the truck pushers and asked us to later pay a thousand francs as money for uniforms. But up till date, truck pushers in Muea are not putting on uniforms and no Muea Community Council member has ever bothered to investigate the issue,” Teh said.

“We are also witnessing the problem of students coming into the truck business during holidays, which is making us inefficient because we want them to work and leave as soon as possible,” Teh added.

Njukang recounted a similar story, explaining that Muyuka Council has asked the Ekona Truck Pushers Union to pay land fee. Besides, he disclosed that they are at war with lorry drivers over parking space, when they come to Ekona market to transport commodities. He, nevertheless, said truck pushers face widespread criticism because society looks upon them as illiterates, wayward and stupid people.

*(National Polytechnic Bambui Journalism Student On Internship)                                            

First published in The Post print edition no. 01361

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