What you need to know:
Passion wins. Kenneth Woniala Sirikye, a lawyer now CEO at Travel with Kenny, lives and breathes tours and travel. He shares his story with Olivier Mukaaya
Tell us about yourself.
I am Kenneth Woniala Sirikye, a tour operator and guide running Travel with Kenny. I am also a freelancer at different tour and travel companies.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I pray and thank God for the gift of life and ask for more courage and protection as I embark on the new day.
What was your first job?
I was an enrollment officer at National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA), during the national ID insurance programme in Sironko District.
Was it a smooth sail?
Well, I would not say so I would travel almost 50kms daily to and from Mbale for work in Sironko and it was not cost-friendly at all since I was living in Mbale. However, I still enjoyed working with the people from different communities.
When did you join the tourism business?
Professionally, it was 2016, but I had earlier been involved in so many tourism-related activities because it has always been my passion. I always refer to it as a divine calling.
Who is the first person you call or text when you excited or worried?
Angel Allison, my young sister.
Because she understands me more than anyone can imagine. She is one person who will cry with me and later on asks me why we were crying. I trust her so much that, I will always tell her about my best or worst moments and everything else.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Back then in our village we would swim in a river with my little buddies. One day, someone stole our clothes while we were in the river enjoying ourselves. We had to walk naked for almost two kilometres. I wonder why the girls in our company were very shy and nervous as we trekked.
Who was your first best friend?
He always listened to me and became more than a brother with time.
Tell us about your first car.
It was a Daihatsu Terrios model 2002. It always felt like a dream near the 4x4 off-road vehicles.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
I think growing big social networks in tourism and of course having people such as Saleh Naminya as my mentor. He is one of the best people that have happened to me.
Your first salary was…?
What is your current job?
I am the CEO at Travel with Kenny, a tour and travel agency majoring in tour guiding services countrywide and I am also a safari manager at Casa Uganda Safaris.
What do you like about your job?
I have gained lot of exposure, I have met many high profile people I never thought I would meet. I have also been to some of my dream destinations, and most importantly it is socially engaging with communities in every aspect. Like they say, tourism is everyone’s business because it benefits a long chain of persons from the time a tourist lands at the airport until their final destination.
Your most memorable experience has been…?
I have quite a number of them, but a specific one was guiding a team of high profile people in the country for three days, but I will not disclose who they were because they love their privacy. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take pictures for security reasons.
Outside tourism, have you done any other job?
Yes, I studied Law at university but never went to the Law Development Centre. I worked with different law firms, though over time, I chose passion over profession.