Thursday January 16 2014

My wheels : ‘The space in here is just amazing', Charles Bukuwa

Bukuwa in and out of his spacious  VW Kombi van

Bukuwa in and out of his spacious VW Kombi van which he says is easy to fix in case of any problem.PHOTO BY EDGAR BATTE 

By Egdar R. Batte

What do you do for a living? Briefly introduce yourself...

My name is Charles Bukuwa. I come from Mbale. I am a journalist by training and working at Parliament as an Information Officer. What more? That is it for now.

What type of car do you drive?
I drive a Volkswagen Transporter van

What do you love about your car?
The seats are very comfortable. Its fuel consumption is fine. Its spare parts are readily available. It has a unique colour.

Does it have a nickname?
My colleagues call it a bread van.

What do people find unique about it?
They keep telling me the red colour is outstanding and then when they look at the interior, they are amazed that it is so big and yet it carries just six people.

For how long have you driven it?
Since 2009.

How much did it cost you?
£2,000 (about Shs8.2m).

What do you like about your car?
It is fuel efficient and it is fast on the road. Most importantly, the space is amazing.

What is its consumption like?
It is a very fuel efficient car. It has a 1,800cc diesel engine.

How much do you spend on fuel in a week?
I have never taken time to know how much I spend in a week but I always top up with Shs100,000 and this takes me two weeks of getting to work and back home.

What is the furthest you have driven this car?
A small village called Rubaale in Ntungamo district where singer Bobi Wine got his wife from.

What mechanical conditions do you normally face?
I would not say I face the same problems over and over. The good thing with VWs and other German cars, when you fix a part, it is very hard for it to break down within a short period of time.

What has been your worst experience with a mechanic?
There this one guy who failed to fix the car. Instead of telling me that he did not have the spare part, he wielded the old bit and drove the car to my place. When I attempted to start it, it was making odd noise. I sought a second opinion and behold, if I had attempted to drive it, I would have destroyed the engine. He must have been crazy. On another occasion, he tried to convince me that the clutch plate was spoilt and that I needed to change it. When his colleague test drove the car, he told me it was just a fuel filter that needed changing.

When was the last time you were stranded on the road?
Recently, I was in Kyebando on my way home and the alternator belt gave way with several pieces going into the timing belt pulleys. I made a mistake and attempted to re-start it and I destroyed several pistons and that was it. With a few people I was with, we pushed it back to my brother’s house.

How many times have you been stuck on the road?
If you mean getting stuck and say failing to leave the place or spending a night, I have not been stuck on the road. Every time it has broken down, I have somehow fixed it and continued with the journey.

How often do you clean your car?
Every Saturday and whenever it is really dirty.

Do you ever wash your car yourself?
Once in a coloured moon.

What has been your experience with the people you share the car with?
I used to share but not anymore. Every time someone took it, it would come back with a problem.