"When you are a woman and you want to get into the business of selling fish, you must be ready to lose your pride and use your body for bargaining," she told IRIN/PlusNews. "Being ready to give sex as and when it is needed by the fishermen... it guarantees your survival here on the beach."
Needed? That just bothered me in a place that rarely gets bothered. What these men need is a good beat down and a re-education.
Achieng says she is aware of the risks, but the immediate needs of her family override any concern she may have about contracting HIV.
"You know you can get HIV... but then you remember you have a family that needs to be provided for, and you say, let me die providing for them," she said.
This bothers me because if you look to the right you'll see that I actively loan to men and women in Africa in order to help them avoid being exploited and dependent. It bothers me that when I help a woman to provide for her family that she STILL has to deal with this kind of bullshit.
This needs to stop.
A recent donation of six boats to women's groups in Nyanza by the US Peace Corps shows some of the ways 'jaboya' can be addressed; the women are able to fish for themselves, eliminating dependence on fishermen.
"When you have nothing, those who have something must tell you to bend over backwards for them. Now we have boats and we will no longer be at anybody's mercy," Millicent Onyango, one of the beneficiaries of the US Peace Corps' "No Sex for Fish" project.
While I don't oppose the thinking behind this, I do not think that the larger issue is being addressed. The problem is not that the women have to make deals with fishermen, but the kind of deals they are being made to make. Just as I loan equally to both men and women, I do not totally support programs that lead to gender competition and isolation. I would hope that someone in the Luo communities are working to change the attitudes of the men in this situation so that a proper symbiotic relationship can be formed.