It is shocking how the people responsible for fixing broken power lines get up every morning, knowing that each day could be their last. With rolling blackouts and downed power lines plaguing the country, there is an ever-present fear of death due to electrocution, falling from great heights, carbon monoxide poisoning and even explosions. Some technicians get injured because they are careless, says one Principle Engineer working at the Kiambere Power Station. He explains that though precautions are often taken, accidents are bound to happen on the job every once in a while.
This is not particularly surprising considering that their jobs entail protecting people who may or may not be in immediate or subsequent danger. Take a look at the armed crime rate in the country; even cattle rustlers are well armed and maybe even better trained than some police officers. If you still have any doubts, feel free to reference the Baragoi incident and the recent incident at Westgate.
Being at the war front is no fun. Our very own military has been deployed to Somalia to weed out members of the infamous terrorist group, the Al-Shabaab and the risks they face are significantly greater than the average pencil pusher.
Fishing is a deadly affair, according to Shaibu Juma Ochieng’, Chairperson of the Usoma Beach Management Unit. He says that fishermen in Lake Victoria often get trapped in a sea of hyacinth and some of them drown in the process. In July 2012, 10 fishermen remained in the lake for days on end, stranded in the carpet of weed as they tried to retrieve their fishing nets. Even the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) couldn’t help since they don’t have helicopters.
With the Meteorological Department getting almost every forecast wrong, fishermen often venture into the deep waters, not knowing how bad the weather can be. In which case, a rescue boat will be more useful in a storm than all the hope and faith in the world.
Who can recall the last time local fire-fighters arrived at a scene on time?
Even so, whenever you’re fighting a fire in the forest, killing the flames in a residential area or running into a burning house to save some children, your own life will always be at risk. “I was employed by Nairobi City Commission as a recruit Fireman on 2nd September 1987,” says Nairobi County Acting Fire Chief, Brian Kisali. He explains that fire-fighting is risky business and should only be left to the professionals. He has, in the recent past, helped in the upgrading of the Nairobi Fire Service Training School, implying that the standards were not up to par to begin with. He hopes that, in time, it will be a “fully-fledged Academy that will serve East and Central Africa.”
Being a pilot seems like fun but the risks involved may make you think twice about applying for a career in aviation. “The greatest challenge in flying is posed by bad weather that can appear suddenly,” says Safarilink Pilot, Milcah Mumbe. One of her colleagues was temporarily stranded in the Maasai Mara due to poor weather conditions. As soon as the skies began to clear, she took off only to encounter another storm, forcing her to land again or risk a crash.
Over the last two years, there have been several chopper crash incidents where all the pilots have perished. Despite the fact that plane and helicopter crashes are rarer than other travel-related accidents, not many people survive a crash. If you like those odds, you can take comfort in the fact that SkyTeam (the group responsible for air safety in the country) takes rigorous safety measures to ensure such things don’t happen.
5. Field Journalists
Journalists all over the world are at risk of losing their lives or getting injured. Forget about the reporters who covered the events in Kismayu or Beles Qoogani who spent some time in Somalia: danger is closer to home than you would think. There are cases of journalists escaping death, getting robbed and being attacked on duty. “Kuna pia assasination and threats,” says Francils Mtalaki from the Standard Media Group, “especially if you are involved in investigative stories. Journalist can be killed.” If you have the courage to get into field reporting, maybe you should carry a weapon or otherwise brace yourself for a beating every once in a while.
It is shocking how the people responsible for fixing broken power lines get up every morning, knowing that each day could be their last. With rolling blackouts and downed power lines plaguing the country, there is an ever-present fear of death due to electrocution, falling from great heights, carbon monoxide poisoning and even explosions. “Some technicians get injured because they are careless,” says one Principle Engineer working at the Kiambere Power Station. He explains that though precautions are often taken, accidents are bound to happen every once in a while.
Construction Workers are at risk of getting hit by falling bricks, getting pummelled by their own machines, and, in some cases, getting buried alive. Even years of building muscles in the field of mjengo can’t save you from a collapsing building. “Kazi ya mjengo si kazi rahisi,” says Construction Worker, Asman Wanzala. He notes that every day gamble and structures can collapse at any time.
Drivers, especially commercial vehicle operators such as truck drivers and PSV drivers, are always in danger. They have to deal with difficult working hours and thin profit margins, and potential car jackings, as Taxi Driver, Kevin Mutiso will have you know. He moved his business away from Kileleshwa after he heard about a series of car jackings gone wrong next to a Pharmacy along Jacaranda Road. “Wakora kibao,” Kevin exclaims.
Just be happy you’re safe at your place of work. Unless, of course, you’re not. In which case, it might be time to look for another job.
While this is not an exhaustive, you should feel free to share with us, if you feel that your line of work deserves to make the cut into the above list.