Kenya: Sex for fish in Kisumu
Posted by African Press International on March 12, 2010
Photo: Kenneth Ocuor/IRIN
Jaboya – the exchange of sexual favours for fish – has been associated with Nyanza’s high HIV prevalence
KISUMU, 9 February 2010 (PlusNews) – Ooko*, a fisherman in his mid-twenties operating mainly from Kisumu’s Dunga beach, and Pamela*, a fish trader about 10 years older, have been in a sexual relationship for two years. He gives her the pick of his catch and she gives him companionship and sexual favours.
The practice, known as “jaboya”, has long been associated with the high level of HIV infection along the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria. Ooko and Pamela spoke to IRIN/PlusNews about the nature of their relationship.
“I am married and I have children; my relationship with Pamela is all about the beach here. I have other girlfriends too, and she has no right to ask me about them because she doesn’t own me,” said Ooko. “Even if she wanted to leave, I would not plead with her to stay.”
Pamela would love to be in a steady, monogamous relationship but her economic situation does not allow it. “It is not that I like double-dealing, but conditions here force us to,” she commented.
“These fishermen do not own the boats they use and they do not have fish every day. If I stick to Ooko and tomorrow the boat owner sacks him, what do I do?” she said.
“Or at times he doesn’t have fish and I must look for an alternative. I don’t think there is anybody here who can say they just have one man or one woman. My boyfriend who wants to marry me is not a fisherman; he doesn’t know I double-deal him because he is away.”
|I know condoms are good, and I would want to use them if I had the power, but the power belongs to someone else, not me|
Although they are each involved in sexual relationships with multiple partners, and know that condoms can prevent pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, both Ooko and Pamela admit they do not use them consistently.
“I use condoms, but I don’t want to lie that I use them all the time,” said Ooko. “You see, having sex with a woman for, say, six months makes you think you know them well – even with Pamela, we don’t use condoms all the time, and I can’t use a condom with my wife.” He was recently circumcised to reduce his chances of contracting HIV.
Pamela said the final decision on condom use was not hers, but her partner’s. “Some men just want sex without a condom, while others agree to use one,” she told IRIN/PlusNews.
“I can’t use a condom with my fianc�e because we both want to show some level of trust; I already have his child and we are looking forward to getting married,” she said. “I know condoms are good, and I would want to use them if I had the power, but the power belongs to somebody else, not me.”