A day in the life of a roadside chicken vendor

For a frequent traveller on Masaka highway, Lukayais a stopover where you find all kinds of eats ranging from roasted beef, chicken, plantain, cassava and drinks like soda and water.

Among those vending chicken at the Lukaya highway market is 25-year-old Twaha Kigongo who for the last three years has been on this job.

“It didn’t need me any capital to invest in this job but my capital was my head and energy. I presented myself and my boss asked if I could help vend chicken to which I agreed,” he says.

 The 25-year-old says he was brought by a friend from Masaka who seconded him for the job of vending chicken and he earns shs500 for each piece of chicken he sells.

“The day starts as early as 5am when we set out with colleagues and the boss to slaughter the chicken that will be sold for the day,” he says.

Kigongo says by 6am, slaughtering the birds and cutting them into pieces is done and they are taken to the market stalls for roasting.

He says his job from there is waiting for the roasted pieces of chicken to vend.

“As I wait for the chicken to get ready, I have a simple breakfast to prepare myself for the day.”

Hustle begins

He says at around 8:30am, the chicken is ready and he picks up at least 10 sticks, each with a piece of roasted chicken that he moves around with.

“The way we do our work is that when we see a vehicle approaching the market, we prepare for it.  On stopping, we swarm around it displaying the best roasted chicken trying to entice its occupants to buy. This job is a survival for the fittest. You must be good at running towards the vehicle but must also convince customers to buy from you,” the 25-year-old says.

He adds that the more customers you get is the more money you will be paid and this he says motivates them to work hard.

According to Kigongo, he works this hard until up to 3pm when he settles down for lunch.

“Since we target travelers, during this time they are not so many and it is the opportunity for us to have snack or something for lunch before we hit the road again.”

He says they eat lunch at the nearby restaurants before they resume work and work up to around 8pm when the number of travellers has reduced on the road.

Kigongo then retreats back home to his family of three.

“I am proud of this job. I have been able to buy a plot of land and I am preparing to start building. Above all, this job has enabled me look after my family including my 5-year-old daughter who is at school,” he says.

Just like any other, Kigongo says his job is not without challenges.

“There are days the customers are few and you end up earning little. Also, some customers are not trustworthy that you give them chicken and they drive off without paying. This means I will have to bear the burden of paying for these pieces of chicken not paid for since my boss doesn’t want to listen to excuses.”

Nevertheless, Kigongo says he has no regrets with his job, adding that he is currently saving to start his own business.

“I advise my fellow youth never to despise any job and if you get it, treat it with care. It is what is feeding you. Don’t wait for government to give you a job, use your networks to get one,” he advises.

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