Francis’ Story, Central African Republic
Francis UNHCR's driver from Central African Republic
I’ll never forget the time when I was involved in a hostage situation, together with other humanitarian workers. Armed men took us to the forest, where they held us for several hours, threatening to kill a part of our group. It was a challenging situation, but it didn’t affect my determination or the love for my work.
It was an easy decision when I left my work as a taxi driver in order to join the humanitarian sector. I always wanted to help people and in particular refugees, who are amongst the most vulnerable social groups in the Central African Republic. I was an ambulance driver at a refugee camp south-west of the capital for 6 years, working and practically living with 6-7,000 refugees from DRC. It was a demanding job, occasionally obliging me to work 48 hours in a row. When there were health emergencies, I had to fetch specialized doctors from other cities, then drive the refugees to the hospital in Bangui, and always stay alert, in case somebody called. I often sat together with the refugees, discussing about their day and their life back home.
Now, I’m working as a driver for the office’s personnel in Bangui. Insecurity makes the job difficult, especially during long journeys in the provinces of the CAR. Following security instructions is essential. It could save the life of everyone on board my vehicle.
Francis Kpoyo, driver at UNHCR in the Central African Republic