Life is not easy for Peter Menya , a cobbler from Kitara in Kisubi. He has to bear the brunt of the scorching sun and wait for customers from early morning until 9pm to earn his livelihood. Although he comes to the trading centre everyday hoping to earn good money, his earnings hardly cross Shs10,000 a day yet he has a family of nine to take care of.
If his luck fails, he bears on with hope of clients approaching him at a given moment. Remember the cost of living does not come cheap. His rent is about Shs 100,000. His wife Meere tries her best to run the family within whatever her husband earns. Although the family struggles to make ends meet, some of their children have dropped out of school. The couple has six children.
Despite the poor income, they survive on posho, as they cannot afford other foodstuffs. They spend whatever earnings are there on the same day.
“Since we are staying in our relative’s servant’s quarter their rent is quite fair. We spend the remaining money on the children’s education as they study in the nearby government school. We have medical expenses to take care of since there are no free health services but the government hospital is quite affordable,” said Menya’s wife.
Menya studied up to Primary Three before he started helping his father who was also a cobbler. His life is routine. He comes to the trading centre at 8am with his lunch box. Before leaving home, he ensures that the school-going children are off to school. Once he has reached the workplace, he has to keep his eyes wide open on every passer-by to look for customers, unmindful of the sweltering sun.
“Some customers take away their shoes without paying as they claim that I have not done a good job. This normally demoralises me but I just persist and hope for better times.
It is not an easy task,” he says.