Asylum-seeker hopes to fulfill trucking dream in Canada

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Daniel Wanyeki’s eyes reflect the pain in his past and the scar is fresh. The 33-year-old Kenyan is seeking asylum in Canada after fleeing persecution in his home country.

Matters came to a head a few months ago when a group of people attacked and stabbed him in the stomach. He spent two weeks in hospital. Lifting his shirt and showing his scar he says, “That’s when I decided I had to leave. I am lucky there was no major internal damage.”

Picture of Daniel Wanyeki
Daniel Wanyeki (Photo: Leo Barros)

Wanyeki’s eyes also mirror hope for his future in Canada. He plans to work as a truck driver and is looking forward to seeing new and different places.

He’s never driven a truck, knows it will not be easy but is willing to put in the time and energy. “I know it will not be easy for me. All that matters is the attitude I have toward the job. If I put my mind to it, anything is possible.”

“I look at truck drivers in their cabs. If he can do it, I can try. If he can do it, why can’t I?”

Daniel Wanyeki, asylum-seeker

He observes drivers sitting in their cabs while he walks around in Hamilton, Ont. where he is being offered a place to stay. “I look at truck drivers in their cabs. If he can do it, I can try. If he can do it, why can’t I?”

In Kenya, Wanyeki worked as a relationship officer in a local bank, where he was given the freedom to visit customers and ensure they were happy. “As long as my customers were happy, I did not have to explain myself to my boss.”

Long road to destination

He is hoping to encounter similar freedom on the road. “In the truck, my supervisor will not be in the vehicle. It will be up to me to make the right choices and get to my destination safely and on time.”

But Wanyeki faces a long road ahead to his destination as a truck driver. He has paperwork that must be sorted before he is allowed to work.

“Hopefully, once I get my work permit, I will take any job available. I will not be choosy, anything comes my way I will do it,” he says. He aims to save some of the money he earns for A/Z training in the future, which costs around $7,000 to $8,000 at some schools.

Safe haven

He is already making plans to get his graduated four-wheeler licence. “Even if it takes me a while, I will keep trying, that’s my attitude.”

Wanyeki says from a very young age he wanted to either be a soldier or a truck driver. “Since I couldn’t be a soldier, I will become a truck driver.”

More importantly, he says, “Here I don’t have to fear for my life, that is all I can ask.”

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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  • Find a good school. Ask drivers and companies who they hire from. Too many who will take your money but not train you to a hireable quality.
    Good luck to you.