Hullo everyone who is reading, my name is Gerald Malinga from Katakwi Uganda.
This is a story of my life, I believe its an inspiring story depicting a life of a character who was raised up by a single mum.
I finished my certificate in Medical Lab Technology in 2009, I did work part-time with Dr. Andrew Katawerà at Lifecare Clinic Katakwi District as a Laboratory assistant and besides the work, I burnt bricks for sale, did agriculture, collected the little cash, and bought a microscope.
I got a busy clinic that didn’t have a lab and requested the owners if they could allow me to partner with them, which they accepted.It did make me cash more than my first place but one day,the husband to the nurse surprised me and told me to leave.Reason was, his nephew was to come and take over the busy place.I packed up in peace and left.
Life wasn’t easy,I started riding to outside villages to avail lab services as far as 20 km away.I had to endure because my 3 acre cassava farm needed money for managing the work of weeding.
After a while, I again partnered with another and I was again sent packing,this time it was worse because during the same week my mum had also suddenly been terminated from her work and so I had to think faster so as to support the whole family.Survival instincts dictated me to move to a nearby cattle market,rented my space and set up a lab again.This time,the nearby drug shops had to send me patients,I would work on them,then send them back.
At the onset,the turn up was promising but a time reached when it totally diminished.
I had to rethink of other strategies to keep my laboratory running, even without adequate clientele pay for it’s expenses.
By this time I had a fiancee,my family members were up to 7.
One day people were complaining about the overgrown bathing sponge plant and I remembered that shops at the city had neat sponges sewn with towels and a piece of sponge inside,I took note of value added sponges whenever I was in shops around Mukono during days I was persuing a National certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology at St.Elizabeth’s Institute of Health Professionals.
I took a piece of sponge grown from one persons compound,shared with my mum about adding value to bathing sponges and she immediately bought the idea.”When you were young,i used to supplement my income through sewing peoples clothes,brewing alcohol and secretarial work”,she told me.She liked the idea and immediately started off.
At one point I learnt to sew because I realised my mum wasn’t interested.Lifes demands were great,my lady was pregnant,the laboratory being at the village wasn’t helping much,I was just helping people instead of thinking of leaving and going to another place.
I went to a tailor, asked how they fixed a thread and spun the wheel.Every morning from 4:00 am upto 6:00 am I would be trying to learn.I took two hours sewing my first two bathing sponges.One day after making 10 dozens,I got onto a car and sold them from the nearby district for $30 and only one shop keeper bought them all.This discovery of easy cash inflow prompted me to employ a tailor to be able to do the work on a daily basis as I kept going for my laboratory work.
After every fortnight,I would get into the car and go to sell.This time I would take between 40 to 70 dozens.It proved profitable, the nearby swamp and homes having the raw material became depleted and we started engaging the nearby villages to plant.The most vivid experience about selling sponges on the streets was when I reached Soroti late,sold a few sponges from one shop and all the ones I reached out to had them.I had to think of taking the stock of up to 70 dozens to Lira,I had only ugx 12,000 for transport fare,nothing for feeding and paying for lodging.When I explained to the conductor that we were moving late and had nothing extra for lodging and feeding except for transport,he calmed me down.”The guest house we always sleep in is enclosed with a wall fence,so you will sleep inside our taxi”,he assured me.Surprisingly, we reached late,they bought for me an evening meal and off we wen’t to sleep.I got out of the taxi,very hopeful,thanked them and we parted ways.By 10:00 am,one supermarket “Global supermarket Lira” back then took all the 70 dozens at 9,000 each.I forgot all I went through and it became one of my greatest testimonies of street life.
Life wasn’t easy,expenses were high,we lost our first baby daughter two days after her birth,the expenses of the C section operation,the ambulance and the cost of treatment took a hard toll on the business,all the initial capital was lost.Due to trust built with the villagers who would pick for me bathing sponges,the people supplying towels,the business picked up again.
I took my lady back to high school but the bathing sponge business paid her tuition until she finished high school in 2013 and joined Makerere University in August of 2014.During her vacation,she conceived the second time and bore me a baby girl,Precious Susan Malinga two days after her first semester at University on 24th/12/2014.At exactly 7:30pm,the baby girl was handed to me by a nurse from the theatre,at that moment the mother was still unconscious after a C- section.
We were a prayerful family and by the time she joined University,I had equally thought of upgrading for my degree but I saw,the enterprise wasn’t able to support me,her,the baby and any other needs.
I saw nothing was adding up.
We became born again in 2012 and I had that faith that God had to be put ahead of every plan.During the month of October 2013,I set out to pray for a change in my life.I told God,”God,I am humbling myself in prayer for the next 30 days of this month and by end of this month,you should have found me what to do that should transform my life for ever”.On the 15th/10/2013 I started writing my first book,”The dead man roars” and published it in August 2014.I started moving to Kampala for book or copyright weeks every year on invitation by National Library of Uganda, met people and the social interactions came in. I published ebooks on amazon, self published more books in print and i discovered writing as a talent.
As of today,I feel God has showed me one of the greatest gifts à human being can posses.
The book talent brought me a client who equally wanted me to publish his books on amazon. The payments out of the work I did was for my tuition at University but this client discovered that my work wasn’t sustainable to pay my tuition.He surprised me and told me he would stand by me to support my studies at Makerere.
I recently contested for Member of Parliament but many believed in my intellectual capacity as a critical thinker because of being à writer.The bathing sponge enterprise made me a house hold name ,”Ocaagoi -Spongeman” across over 200 villages I served bathing sponge seeds as I was campaigning.
I didn’t win but I believe the journey of my destiny for humanity begun long ago.
The hardships we face are not meant to break us but to strengthen us.
Support me by making a purchase of a book of your choice or donate to support my initiative to construct a library and a youth entrepreneurship centre to help the youth of katakwi with self-sustaining concepts and training.