Jordan: Khaldun’s first humanitarian mission

Jordan: Khaldun’s first humanitarian mission

“It has been such a great and satisfying feeling to be part of this humanitarian work and to be able to transport needed items to the Syrian community.” -- Khaldun Hamasha
Article 18 October 2020 Jordan

Recently, the ICRC’s Logistic Supply Centre (LSC) in Amman successfully organised and shipped 732 wheelchairs (for both children and adults), 930 walking frames (for vulnerable persons with disabilities), and 325 crutches to war-torn Syria by road. These items were distributed to medical facilities supported by the ICRC around the country.

One of the drivers in the 5-truck convoy that took these significant items to Syria is Khaldun Hamasha. Without the skill and discipline of drivers like him, humanitarian convoys might be more difficult to organise and deploy. Given the oftentimes difficult terrain and security challenges that such convoys navigate and encounter, it is usually important to ensure that the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies is entrusted to competent professionals like Khaldun.

His long experience is underscored by the fact that he started his career as a taxi driver at the age of 18 and often worked for more than 15 hours every day. At this very young age, Khaldun was able to support his family and provide them with basic and essential needs. “It felt like a weight on my shoulders that I was never able to get rid of, it was such a huge responsibility,” he said. After working for 6 years as a taxi driver, Khaldun was able to buy his own light truck and began transporting goods from Jordan to Gulf countries.

Going down memory lane, Khaldun, now 44 years old, recalled that it was with the support of his friend that he was able to start transporting vegetables and fruits to Dubai and Bahrain. He chose this line of work because he could not complete his high school education due to difficult family circumstances. “My father passed away while I was in my last year of school so I had to drop out and start working to support my mother and siblings,” he said. Khaldun is the eldest male child and the only one who was able to work to support his family and help meet their needs. Khaldun strongly believes that he experienced the best period of his career during those trips to the Gulf. Within three years, he was able to buy his own house and a heavy truck. He also got married and started his own family. 

 Throughout his experience as a truck driver, Khaldun enjoyed his work and was always satisfied with his income. However, amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, his life completely changed. For the first time in 26 years, Khaldun went through a financial crisis. He was not able to maintain his life routine neither provide his family with their everyday needs. “When the authorities in Jordan implemented full lockdown, I completely stopped working for around 4 months. During that period, I was spending my savings carefully.” He stated. Following the lockdown, Khaldun’s career has changed drastically. He is now limited to internal shipments as restrictions are being enforced across borders. Khaldun expressed that the internal shipment trips are not a good source of income as he does not get paid enough.

It was Khaldun’s first-time experience transporting humanitarian items and materials to a neighboring country. He was grateful and fulfilled to be part of such a mission. “It has been such a great and satisfying feeling to be part of this humanitarian work and to be able to transport needed items to the Syrian community.” Khaldun looks forward to being part of such missions more often in the future.

Khaldun lives with his wife and 6 children in Amman.