Homes and Property
How I built my home :I won a Celtel house, lost it, and built my own
Posted Wednesday, February 20 2013 at 02:00
Mark Owach, takes pride in the fact that his compound is the most picturesque in the area. The journey to this is a curious one.
My name is Mark Ojwach I am an engineer by profession and a proud parent of three boys and two lovely girls. I came to Kampala around the 1980’s to look for a job and support my family since I was the first born. I had a lot of responsibility at hand by that time. Back then, I used to stay at my uncle’s place in his boy’s quarters. I soon left his home and rented a single room around Buganda Road near now Watoto Church. By that time, most of my brothers had grown to the age of joining secondary school and most of them sought better education in town. In the 1990’s I got married and many of my siblings were coming to live with me. I rented a bigger apartment in Kamokya Mawanda road. It is then that the thought of owning a house came to me. So I dedicated this need to God.
How I got financing
In 2000, I won Celtel’s house promotion which handed me a three bed roomed house in Naalya estates. I was grateful. I needed a bigger house with a more natural setting than that one I had won though. I got a loan and put my house as collateral, very risky business you should know. I bought a 100 by 50 piece plot of land in Namugongo about 100 meters from the main road at around Shs30m then started off with the building business, using money I made from projects I was running then.
I was quite a busy man but I handled this project myself with my junior engineers help. Also around this time my second born was in his Senior Six vacation. He was the main man at the site he supervised and helped do the work. Surprisingly, he also invited two of his friends home to sleep over for a fortnight to help him spear head this project.
He didn’t ask for transport to the site, they woke up early and walked from the estate to the site which is about two kilometers away.
At the site, there were very many challenges that were not new to me. In this area were there was a sparse population and few permanent houses, getting water was hard because of the long distance but the villagers were quite inviting and offered a helping hand with that issue same times they collected water from the well for free and other times thy need just about Shs2,000 as pocket money. In four months my house was up and I had even roofed it.
At the same time my period of paying the loan was elapsing so I was in big turmoil with issues of school fees, food in the house, sending help to the village all piling on my desk.
Giving up my other house
Personally, I thought everything was over and the needs out weighed completion of the house but the bank couldn’t listen to such stories. I lay down my house in Naalya to the bank and headed to my incomplete house.
I didn’t have main doors. I put a frame covered with iron sheets to as doors. My wife and kids surely supported me with their understanding which eased the progress of our house.
Not so long ago, I bought and fixed the doors. My wife who has a passion for nice things started to work on the compound to give it green. So we planned how to do it. We raised the ground a bit higher and planted grass which we got from Naalya since it was rare in Namugongo.
Step by step, I completed each room starting from the bedrooms to the bathrooms then the living room. I plastered the outside walls and in three months at, least I could say I was living in a house.
Connecting water and electricity was another issue because the place was very rural and such utilities were not readily available. For a while, we fetched water from the well and used lamps and candles. By 2006 though, I had connected all the utilities and the area was becoming more residential.
The next thing was putting up a perimeter wall which I constructed only on the sides because my wife wanted a live fence at the front. We have done a lot of work on our compound to an extent that we have changed the grass three times already. In my locality, I am proud to say I have among or may be the best compound.