Covid-19 forced Ainomugisha to become a mechanic, she has no regrets

Mercy Ainomugisha Nkakara, 21, is a female mechanic at Niyo Garage in Kasangati in Wakiso district who as fate would have it, ended up doing a job predominantly for men because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before 2020, she was fending for her family from sewing craft shoes and baskets as well as tailoring. She later started running a retail shop as earlier businesses were not profitable.

“Before Covid-19 struck I had set up a small shop where I would sell a few items to customers. Unfortunately, my shop had just started when Covid-19 came crushing in,” Ainomugisha says.

She narrates that the onset of the pandemic and the resultant lockdown that necessitated closure of almost all businesses that didn’t offer essential services saw her business greatly affected.

As fate would have it, the 21-year-old female found herself asking for any sort of job at a garage.

“As I was speaking to one of my old boys at school who works in a garage, he hinted at a vacant position for a receptionist at the garage. God had answered my prayers,” she says.

Ainomugisha says she immediately asked to be recommended for the position since she was now unemployed and needed something to earn a living.

“Fortunately, he did so, and I was accepted after talking to the garage owner and confirming my desire to work as hard as any hardworking person he knew,” she says.

Curiosity sets in

She says that having landed the job of being a receptionist, she realized this made her so redundant and before long she developed interest in being a mechanic.

 “My inquisitive nature could not let me settle in the receptionist job. Before long I was asking questions on how cars are operated, different car models, their prices, how their spare parts were obtained and so much more. I found my desire to know more about cars turning into a passion and after a while I really wanted to understand the full operation of a car. Before I knew, I had started being allowed to be closer to watch but also participate during mechanical works at the garage,” she says.

Ainomugisha says that it was not long before she mastered the art of repairing vehicles but this she attributes to her upbringing.

She explains that having grown up in a community that believes girls, like boys, can make it anywhere; it was easy to pull off the mechanical works.

 “I was fortunate to be among those lucky who grew up with a belief that whatever a man can do, a woman can also do. I always had this right from a tender age. I always felt it within me that what everybody else can do, I could also do it and even better,” she says.

She adds that she even felt stronger when her father passed on.

“When my father died, I realized that whoever said men should look after their families might probably have been right. We were in for a roller coaster ride that would test our determination to go on. Fortunately, I had gotten enough formal and informal education to know that one’s family came first. With the help of my mum, I began fending for the family with the same determination that I always admired from my father,” she says

Ainomugisha believes that this attitude played a big part in her development as a mechanic to compete with men in the business.


Just like any other job, she says she has faced a number of challenges as a young lady doing mechanics.

 “My male workmates tease me, my friends laugh at me, and at times I feel so discouraged, but because I have always nurtured a unique vision within me, I always ignore them and work harder to prove them wrong,” she notes.

She adds that many who see her working as a mechanic discourage her from it saying it is a job for men but insists this doesn’t stop from going forward.

She says that she realized that the challenges help boost her confidence.

“I have responsibilities and I have dreams, and I believe I am on the right path. Despite the challenges before, now, and after, I know that I am just one step closer to being what I have always wanted,” she says.


 To young girls, she says there is nothing they cannot do with determination.

 “Those discouraging things you hear are the voices of those who fear the greatness that awaits you. Do not listen to them, you have potential and ability that only you can explore and discover. Stand out today and chase your dreams, however challenging they might look, you are one step closer,” Ainomugisha advises.

She says that in future she wants to own her own garage where she would employ young people including females to break the stereotype.

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