Lady truck driver: Getting a tyre burst in the middle of the night while alone was my worst experience

Give us a brief background of who you are: I am Audrey Chepchirchir, 22-years-old, I come from a humble background. I was born and raised in Rift Valley and the firstborn in a family of three.  

How did you settle on being a truck driver? At first, I just wanted to have driving skills, so after high school in 2017, I enrolled in a driving school. At the time, my parents had suggested that I start with driving as I think of a course that I would love to get training in.

I happened to be among the top three students. Having impressed my teachers, I was given an attachment in the same school and later I applied for a job at a company called Master Servant. Luckily, the managers hired me for six months before I got greener pastures elsewhere.

  What attracted you to heavy machinery? I wanted to challenge myself.

I knew I had the ability but I wanted to confirm it. Moreso, I believed in the saying that what a man can do a woman can do better.  

What skills and abilities do you have that make you a good fit for this role? I am good and stay loyal to my employer. Since I became a truck driver, I have never been involved in dirty deals or diverted goods.

I have also never been involved in an accident. Interest is also key. I am a performer and I love what I do.

  You also own a hotel… Tell us about it and how do you balance the two?

Yes, I also have a passion for cooking. Since I have cash flow with few financial obligations, I thought of investing in what I love – a hotel. That was how the idea of cooking African dishes came up.

I started with online customers and later established a hotel in Kitengela. I mostly do my driving at night and during the day I leave instructions briefly at the hotel before I take a rest. I have three employees and when I am on long-distance jobs, I coordinate through the phone.

  Truck driving is generally assumed to be for middle-aged people who already have families. What’s your take?

That’s just a perception that needs to be done away with. There is no job that’s specifically meant for a certain gender. We should embrace all jobs as they come as long as the income is good. 

  Is it true that every long-distance driver must chew miraa to stay awake? No.

There are other ways of keeping the driver awake. Personally, I drive to different countries like Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and many others but I don’t chew miraa. I take bottles of water and sweets that help me to stay awake.

  Would you encourage young women to be truck drivers? Of course, yes.

Ladies should embrace this job; it offers good pay and free adventure. It gives one opportunity to experience different cultures.  

It’s always assumed that truck drivers are mean to other motorists. What’s your take? Motorists fear us because of our heavy machinery, but we are fellow road users who understand and obey traffic rules.

  As a young lady truck driver, what’s the worst experience you have ever had? Getting a tyre burst in the middle of the night while alone.

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