My name is Jerom Ochenge. I am grateful to the MasterCard Foundation through RUFORUM for the generous support and opportunity granted to me. As a fresh graduate, I never had any source of income, but the financial support I got through MCF@RUFORUM changed my life.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke, all the students were sent home and this gave me the opportunity to carefully weigh what I would do next since there were no more classes. I discovered that I needed to engage in a flexible business that is not so demanding and that is how the idea of buying a motorcycle, commonly known as boda-boda came to my mind.
I used the boda-boda for transporting only goods at first, however, I later started carrying passengers as well. When the Ugandan Government imposed a total lockdown due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in the country, vehicles were banned from moving, except those offering essential services. However, boda-bodas were allowed to transport goods which made it easier for me to deliver goods to my clients and I was able to earn a living.
Riding a boda-boda did not only transform my life financially, but also gave me a chance to meet new people and I learnt about some places in my vicinity that I previously did not know about.
However, the major challenge is that many of the roads in my community are unpaved and they have very many potholes, and the Unpredictable weather changes, especially when it rains, the roads become slippery which makes riding difficult.
Besides riding a motorcycle, I also did computer repair and maintenance work at a workshop where I previously did my industrial training and I am able to; perform user defined application software installation such as Adobe Reader, web browsers, antivirus and office packages, run operating systems on client computers most commonly Windows and Ubuntu, perform hardware upgrades like RAM, HDD, CPU installation and troubleshoot client computers with problems such as corrupted operating systems, crushed hard disks and provide solutions.
However, the challenge with this job is that some clients are rude and arrogant, while others believe that they are being cheated when the service delivery cost is mentioned to them, and others do not want to take the advice given to them on technical issues that would improve their computer operation such as upgrading the memory of their gadgets. Power blackouts also makes this work difficult especially when it happens during software installation on a computer with no extra reserve batteries.
Despite all the challenges, I am motivated to open my own repair and maintenance workshop to provide computer maintenance services. I also hope to integrate the shop with a graphic studio using the adobe master collection packages to edit multimedia projects.
I thank RUFORUM for the unconditional financial support.