A day in life of a food vendor

Prossy Nakintu, 33, runs a food vending business in Kamyokya market, Kampala, a business she has been operating for the last ten years. She narrated to Youth Blitz what a typical day in her business entails.

The single mother of two says she wakes up daily by 4.00 am, recites her morning prayer and hits the road.

“I have to be up early to prepare my day so by 4.00 am I am up and ready to go the market to buy the food items that I am going to prepare,” she says.

She says she buys most of her food stuffs from Kalerwe market which is not far away from where she resides.

“They are cheaper [in Kalerwe] than in Kamyokya market where I work from that is why I go there,” she says.

Nakintu says she prepares two meals a day. Breakfast and lunch.

“Breakfast must be ready by 8.00 am that is why I have to be up early,” she says.

For breakfast she serves tea and katogo (a mixture of matooke and meat), she says.

Yet it is the preparation for lunch that is most hectic. Since she has to prepare different types of dishes, she says this requires a lot of hard work.

For lunch she normally prepares fresh fish, beef, beans, pasted fish in gnuts, peas. These are served with matooke, posho, rice, sweet potatoes and cassava.

“All these require careful preparation and take a lot of time and mind you sometimes you prepare something and people don’t eat it,” she says.

Nakintu’s says her food stall is one of the most popular because she is clean and prepares good food.

“There are many food vendors so to attract customers to your stall, you must maintain a high level of hygiene and your food must be tasty.

By 12.00pm, she is ready to serve lunch.

However, she says her peak time is 2.00 pm when many people start streaming to her stall.

“At this time I can hardly breathe because there are many people who want to be served and you know some customers are impatient,” she says.

Her clientele comprises people who work in the market, office workers from nearby organizations and random people passing through the market.

Nakintu, who employs three other people, says by 4.00 pm, her food is usually done and that is when she starts taking stock of the day.

“I use that time to balance the books and to demand payments from some customers who usually pay later,” she says.

She says on a good day, she can sell at least 100 plates of food at an average cost of Shs 5,000 each. This means that she can make sales of up to Shs 500,000 a day.

However when you subtract the operational costs, she says she remains with at least Shs 100,000 which is not bad. She retires home at 6.00 pm to prepare for the next day.


She says her biggest challenge is the persistent rise in prices of food items.

“This affects my profit margins because I can’t always raise the cost of a plate of food. This will chase away my customers,” Nakintu says.

Another challenge are customers who eat food and don’t want to pay. She says sometimes she has to write off some debts as bad from people who don’t want to pay her.

“It hurts me a lot but I don’t have anything to do. Whenever someone refuses to pay me my money, I stop dealing with them,” she says.


Nakintu advises people especially the youths to be hardworking, honest and never to give up even amidst challenges.

“There is nothing easy in this world. I have been in this business for ten years but I can say that my first three years were for learning. I made a lot of losses and I almost gave up but here I am,” she says.

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