At Sirende shopping centre, Mr. Orungu receives me. I notice a warm reception by other bodaboda operators as I walk towards him. I later learnt of his new role as the bodaboda Chairman at Sirende. It is a role that he acquired through hard work in his motorbike business.
Five years ago, Mr. Orungu’s wife, Esther, joined DOVE Springs Sacco. She saved for a while and as a family they decided to take a loan of thirty thousand shillings. The loan was used to purchase a motorbike. This became Mr. Orungu’s source of employment as he took it upon himself to be the operator. “We did not want to take another loan since the motorbike business was bringing a profit. From it, we saved more. I had already identified a need and market for bricks.”
“The whole process of producing bricks is expensive and tiresome. Getting skilled labor who know how to mix the soil and make blocks is another task. These people need money,” Mr. Orungu explains. But it was possible because the motorbike was on the move, catering for the brick business and family bills
“I will sell half of the bricks and with the other half we will lay the foundation of our house,” explains Mr. Orungu. “The people I employed to produce the bricks had to drop out of school because they did not have fees. I took it upon myself to visit their schools and talk to their parents. I wanted them back to school and so I paid their allowances to their school accounts. I am glad I did so to change their lives and also ease the burdens on their parents.”
Brick business can be affected by weather changes as pointed out by Mr. Orungu. “Weather does affect the production of bricks as they have to undergo days of hardening through heating. In case of heavy rains, the wet bricks are soaked in water rendering them unusable.”
Mr. Orungu is a proud man “The motorbike opened doors for us. We are now producing bricks, and our next plan is to rear chicken. DOVE Springs Sacco changed our vision. We have increased our work momentum to repay the loan. We need more loans and we cannot take any chance of being blacklisted in case we do not repay!” he concludes.