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How far would you go?
“The boda-boda business is lucrative and dangerous”

O. Hannington
84km | Ayume Nelson spends his days driving a boda-boda taxi motorcycle around Yei, a city in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria State. He takes us for a ride.
11.11.2015  |  Yei, South Sudan
Ayume Nelson earns a living by driving a boda-boda taxi around Yei. (photo: The Niles | Ochan Hannington)
Ayume Nelson earns a living by driving a boda-boda taxi around Yei. (photo: The Niles | Ochan Hannington)

> Departure: around Yei, South Sudan
> Arrival: -
> Distance: 84km per day


I’ve transported all sorts of people - even robbers who wanted to snatch my motorcycle. I travel around 12 hours a day, seven days a week. But it’s dangerous. Two years ago someone speeding behind me lost control of his motorcycle and hit me. Before I knew it I was on the ground.

I bought my first motorbike using the 4,500 South Sudanese pounds (US$1,000) I’d earned from selling bricks. But thieves stole it. About seven robbers broke my door, entered my tukul (hut) with guns and left with my motorcycle. I only survived narrowly.

During the rainy season, roads fill with mud. Then there are more accidents. I wish I had the power to transform Yei. I want to see better roads - then I could drive faster.

You make better profits being a boda-boda driver than opening up a kiosk or starting a vegetable garden. I can make quick money. On my green painted vehicle called Boxer I carry up to five children or three adults.

I don’t know what the future will hold. Since my motorbike was stolen I can’t earn enough to get a new one or a new livelihood. I pay at least 25 South Sudanese pounds to the owner of the motorcycle I rent on a daily basis. What I am left with is hardly enough for me.

This article is part of:
On The Move: Experience is a solid walking stick
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