By Resty Nasaazi
With COVID-19 lockdown still ongoing, majority of the population is stuck at home without activity at the mercy of the state. Whilst others sit waiting for government relief , Jeniffer Naluwuge a 34 year old fish vendor from Nyendo in Masaka is steps ahead to make ends meet.
As the Republic is out to curb the spread of the novel corona virus, a-many sectors and industries have shut down indefinitely with public transport inclusive, leaving several people and their goods immovable, Naluwuge who used to move fish to Kampala by public means from Masaka was able to devise means to keep her finances alive.
The government directives on transport gave exemptions for motorcycles and restricted them to cargo only, Naluwuge has since then switched to riding a motorcycle all the way from Masaka to Kampala covering a distance of 125km daily to deliver fish to her customers.
Wearing a tracksuit, closed flat shoes, a helmet and face mask, Naluwuge jumps onto her modified bike that bears a large wooden box containing at least 90 kgs of fish. This box occupies much of the space on the motorbike forcing her to sit on the fuel tank while on the move.
Naluwuge says to some extent the lockdown is rather a blessing in disguise for her since she has recorded an increase in customers through her door to door delivery given that most people are home these days and hopes to keep her new clients even after the crisis.
The 34 year old says that she started vending fish in July 2010 with only Ushs 25,000.
“With that capital, I bought 3 inch tilapia, each worth about 1500 at the time and put them in the basket that I used to carry on my head around Nyendo town.” she says
“While trading in masaka town, a customer told me that my fish was of an exceptional quality and I should start thinking about expanding to Kampala.” Naluwuge adds
Naluwuge did not hesitate about the genuine idea, and started ferrying her fish to Kampala where she would supply to clients in various buildings like Nabukeera, Nana, Jumba, Mini price and Shauri Yako and in no time she had expanded to Nasser road, Nkrumah road and parliamentary avenue.
Prior to the pandemic, Naluwuge would board a matatu from Nyendo near Kampala where she would disembark and start supplying fish to her customers around the centre.
10 years later, Naluwuge is indeed a happy with no regrets. She is a single mother of four (3 girls, one boy), she is thankful for being able to build her own home, acquire land and afford a good education for her children.
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