By Esther Namirimu
Ali Kasiko saved sh11, 000 every month for 10 years to achieve his dream of building a house made out of cement, bricks, iron sheets and with electricity. Most homes on Jaguzi Island where Kasiko lives have grass thatched huts. Kasiko is living his dream as one of the rich people in the area.
At the age of 19, Kasiko decided to pursue his dream of building a brick house instead of the common grass thatched huts that are in his home area. He now owns a two bedroom house, with a sitting room. He also owns another house; that has a sitting room and bedroom.
Here is the story as it unfolded: I lived on this island (Jaguzi) on L. Victoria in Mayuge district, until the age of 15 years when I travelled to Jinja district and saw beautiful homes, I could not believe it, and it seemed like a dream. When I came back to the Island I started day dreaming of owning a nice house. At age of 16, I drew the plan of my house because I did not want to forget it. I had copied this plan from a relative’s home in Jinja.
Source of income
The fact that I was not going to school and I feared the lake means I was not a fisherman. I realised that I needed to change my lifestyle. I had five goats which I exchanged for one cow. I asked my father for more land so that I could grow crops. I gave vegetable growing my best and after a short period of time I earned sh150,000; I could not believe it so I decided to work harder. I bought three goats from that money, that way I could not spend it on luxuries like bicycles.
Then I decided borrow money to buy seeds to plant more vegetables which included green pepper, cabbage, spinach, egg plants and tomatoes; it wasn’t easy, but my efforts earned me sh500,000. Up to date vegetable growing brings me most money, on average I earn sh300,000 every month.
I was so happy, I opened up an account in Pride Bank, Jinja branch, and I also joined the Jaguzi Saving Credit Association so that I could learn financial discipline. The members were required to save between sh2000 to sh20,000 per week.
The fact that I was dealing in vegetables I was able to save sh15,000 every week. In a month my savings amounted to sh60,000, in a year i had sh720,000 and in eight years I had saved sh5,760,000m . I also expanded my garden to grow bananas, maize and cassava. I started construction in 2010 when I felt I had saved enough.
Around 2011, a group of people from the city working on a project called Health of People and the Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HOPE-LVB) taught us about Agro-forestry, now I also plant food crops and trees on the same piece of land that has my house. This has increased my income because trees bring in more money.
The cost of materials
Since I had drawn the plan for my house about 10 years ago, I contacted builders from Iganga district; they were experienced builders. I gave them my plan and they built it for me. I bought land (the piece I was farming on) from my father at sh3.2m. Sow when I started building on it not even my brothers could complain.
I had sh 7.2m in savings and too a loan of sh4m. Altogehter I had sh11m when I started building. I bought cement and each bag ranged between sh27,000 and sh30,000. But it was costly transporting it across the lake to the building site. I bought each wheel barrow of sand at sh2000. I bought each brick at sh100.
The foundation slab and iron bars cost me sh1m. We had to use iron bars to make the foundation strong so that the house does not sink being that this is an island and water is near the surface.
Altogether I used 20 iron bars and the lintel consumed 30 wheelbarrows of mixture of cement, sand and stone. I paid sh8,000 for each piece of wood for roofing. I bought all the required nails at sh300,000. I used 26 iron sheets each costing sh29,000.
I have two solar panels each with its own battery; they cost sh3m altogether wiring inclusive. I paid the builders sh1.5m for the whole job, on top of that I gave them accommodation and food. My house was finished after a period of three months. I hope to do a nice finishing and also add boy’s quarters.
Advice to the youth
Nothing is impossible, if you put your mind to it. Who knew that one day I would be among the few people on this island who own a modern house?
Many people could not believe it when they saw me building. I always dreaded the idea of living in a grass thatched house for the rest of my life. Always remember where you came from and stay focussed. Currently I am the chairman of Champions for change in the HOPE-LVB and I always motivate the youths.