Saleh Naminya is the chief executive officer of Casa Uganda Safaris and Casa lodges. He talks about turning his worst experience into a life lesson.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I look at my phone; check emails. I then say a prayer and start my day.
I got my first job was in 1999 during my Senior Six vacation. I was a salesperson for local cosmetics Sleeping Baby. This was one of the hardest jobs I ever did. To begin with, we were required to work for six days for Shs1,000 a day. You only got paid at the end of the week. My job was to find clients for the jelly. Sometimes I would go to the field, take charge of one of our retailers’ shop and talk customers into buying our product. But my bosses were the kind that made you do everything without any extra payment, for example I used to do grocery shopping for them, pick their children from school, load trucks and man the shop for them. They were happy only when we were busy but in all it trained me well.
Currently I am the chief executive officer of Casa Ugandan Safaris Limited and Casa Del Turista a tour and travel company found in Mbale city. Seeing my dream of building a Tour and Travel Company come to reality was a fascinating experience for me.
How did you end up in the tourism industry?
It took a lot of planning and sacrifice for me to join the industry. For instance because this business demands a lot of time and funding, I dropped out of my master’s programme in the last semester in order invest in the tourism business. When I was turning my property into a bed and breakfast, it was a nerve-racking venture because you are putting your all into something you are not guaranteed will work. To aggravate this uncertainty, just when I thought we were ready, we had to undertake another remodification that took about four months. I was so relieved when everything was in place and we were ready to welcome our first guest.
What do you like about this job?
I love being of service to people. Not only do I get to help people visit our beautiful country comfortably but I also get to give other people an opportunity to earn an income.
The first person you call or text when excited or worried?
My sister. She has been here for me all my life. We have always looked out for each other because of our background. But most importantly she made sacrifices no sister should be forced to make such as leaving school to start work so she could pay my school fees. I will always be grateful for that.
Earliest childhood memory?
I lost my mother when I was in Primary Two. Before we left home in the morning she told us she was not feeling well but she did not look in such bad shape. A few hours later I was picked from school and told that she had passed on. I do not think I understood what it all meant until later after her burial. The painful memory of leaving my home to go to a relative’s home is still fresh in my mind.
First best friend?
My first best friend was Abubakali Ssenyondwa. At one time I trusted him unconditionally. I did not think twice about helping him whenever he needed anything. But in hindsight, it seems all this devotion was on my side because he just moved on with his life as soon things started getting better for him.
My first car was a white Corona 100. I bought it at Shs5m in 2007 which was very affordable. I enjoyed this car a lot.