Joseph Wanda, 29, speaks with a low baritone as he digs into a fluffy of papers.
The box, he says, is a reminder of his long journey to get a job that started as early as 2012 after graduating with an Economics degree from Kyambogo University.
Dressed in brown khaki trousers matched over a checkered long sleeved shirt and dusty black shoes, Wanda tells of the struggles he has gone through since childhood.
“I lost my mother at a tender age. I was schooled and raised by Fred Kagwire, my elder brother. He was my father and mother. I never knew how mother’s love tastes,” he says, with a sudden feat of sadness.
The struggles of life, he says, have taught him a hard lesson and through hard work he was able to attain a degree, which as he had thought would be an insurance into securing a better future.
“I always thought I would get a job immediately after university. But it has been this long. However, I have never given up. I still apply for jobs and keep up with events through newspapers, online publications and networking,” he says flushing a smile.
Wanda is of average build standing at about five feet tall.
From our interaction, he seems a likeable character as we easily strike a cord, joking between the almost one-and-half hour interview.
After graduating, Wanda had thought of getting a job in a financial institution but he, up to 2013, had to settle into managing his brother’s stationery shop in Rubaga, Kampala as he waited for the opportunity.
“I realised that I had to do something as I wait for the job. Reality had struck in and I had to adjust a little,” he says.
However, towards the end of 2013, Wanda through a friend, was alerted of a job vacancy – research assistant – which had been advertised.
“I applied just for just. I was beginning to lose trust in advertised jobs. But I was surprised when I was called for an interview,” he says.
However, the job only lasted a month as the company, which had given him a six-month contract had to call off the contract citing financial difficulties.
Wanda was back to square one but kept optimistic and after about seven months he was called for another opportunity to do research for a Kenya-based company - IT Hub, which was also a six months contract.
Such is the job market and just like many youth, Wanda has had a shared story of how it has been difficult to secure jobs.
Short term contract jobs have been Wanda’s thing as he has had about six of them since 2013.
However, he has kept on applying for different opportunities and he is hopeful that he will one day get something better.
Currently, he is working on a six-moth contract with the Ministry of Health to supply treated insecticide mosquito nets to people in Wakiso and Kampala districts.
He has also worked with Infectious Disease Institute in Makerere for three months conducting research on different aspects.
However, his prayer now is to get a permanent job that can ably pay his bills as well as give him an opportunity to grow into something.
Wanda was born in Kacuncu in Mbarara District.
He attended Mother Janet Primary School in Masaka District before moving to St Josephs Vocational School in Mbarara for his high school education.
For six years now, Wanda has had to juggle life without a regular job which as he says, “is not easy especially when one has other responsibilities to take care of such as rent, food among others”.
“I exercise restraint on a number of things. I do not just spend because I have to account for every coin I spend,” he says.
Wanda also writes reports for university students for which he charges a small fee.
JOSEPH WANDA’S TWO CENTS
1 Never give up
For the five years Wanda has been searching for a job he has thought of giving up but he lifts himself up to push on.
“If I was not strong will, I would have given up by now but I keep pushing myself until I get what I deserve,” he says.
Wanda’s life has been a hell of challenges. He lost his mother at an early age but he was picked up by his brother and molded to the man he is now. However, the failure to get a regular source of income has become another challenge in his life.
3 Always cautious
Even amid challenges, Wanda has lived a cautious life always minding about what people think and say about him. He believes that it is during his youth that he can define to the rest of the world who he is.