Desperate times call for desperate measures. And as the economy takes a beating, so do a majority of businesses, including local companies which have offloaded employees to inflation via massive layoffs.
There is a cash crunch and even hookers who ply the world’s oldest trade have not been spared. They too have ‘restructured’ operations, doing away with the niceties of lodging rooms for that parking space between long distance trucks, besides reducing charges to attract ‘business.’
Take Kondele, the politically charged area that has been turned into Kisumu City’s Sodom and Gomorrah.
Hookers there have resorted to using ‘bend-over corners’ in what is arguably the lakeside town’s 24-hour ‘short time’ district, where for as little as Sh50, a ‘night nurse’ conveniently bends over between parked lorries in this dusty place where alcohol, sex and crime are a staple diet.
Parked lorries make for convenient open spaces that saves room money, seeing as it is, that transport makes for big business in Kondele, where some seedy lodging rooms go for as little as Sh400 a night- bed without breakfast.
The use of parked lorries follows the law of demand and supply as ‘established’ sluts hire most of the rooms before charging their clients for the same, leaving those who cannot afford with little option but the parked lorries.
“Our rooms go for between Sh300 and Sh400 a night. That is bed alone without breakfast. So, most of the rooms are normally occupied by the sex workers and sometimes they share a bed, meaning when one person gets a client, the other would be hunting for one and vice versa,” explained a hotel manager who declined to be named. He added that most of his clients are sex workers but that does not mean other people don’t patronise their business.
It is when the men cannot afford to pay for both the ‘shot’ and the room (the commission levied by the woman who has ‘sublet’ the guest room) that they head to the lorries for a quick service, which could cost as little as Sh50 and below.
“There is real desperation here,” says Kennedy Ogada, who has procured the ‘services’ for between Sh20 and Sh50, adding that other reasons for using parked lorries include binge drinking and running out of cash when the craving strikes.
“In such cases, the woman has no choice but to take the little cash offered to take home the following morning. Parked lorries, therefore, come in handy,” says Ogada
“We have had to review the rates upwards given the tough economic times, and nowadays, I can no longer take anything less than Sh50,” a night nurse told us even as our aforementioned manager denied there are romps that happen between parked lorries.
He instead argued that, “What I know is that they go hunting for men out there and when they get them, they bring them here (in the rooms). Those saying that they do it between parked lorries are liars.”
But the lorry drivers have no qualms with the business side of the parking. Yusuf Onyango, one of the drivers popularly known as ‘Kilo’, says, “We have no problem with what goes on there at all for as long as there is no damage to the vehicles.
“These days, we don’t have anything like seduction. It ended a long time ago. It is nowadays all about what your pocket says. So you live and let live. If I come from my lorry and realise my blood is ‘too hot,’ I quickly climb the stairs to the guest house,” says Kilo with a chuckle.
“While commercial sex in Kisumu is not a preserve of Kondele, it is at Kondele that we have the highest concentration of hovels which operate both day and night,” says James Wanyande, a resident there.
Celine Achieng is one of the night nurses, but she doesn’t park along the streets. She has a tiny mabati room with a bed where she pays the owner of the hovel Sh300 per day.
“I used to park here but I left. The problem is that business has not been good. Like now, I have arrears stretching of up to Sh2,000 but it is good the landlord is understanding,” said Achieng.
The hovel where she has a room is but one of the many which have mushroomed in Kondele over the years.