By Maureen Nakatudde
Ssemwanga Muggagga was born 43 years ago in Kimenyedde, Nakifuma, Mukono district. While in P.4, 10-year-old Muggagga had to start paying school fees for himself because his father was unemployed. Most of the requirements in the home were met by his mother.
Every child took it upon themselves to help their mother make ends meet. The third born in a family of seven, Muggagga says they started vending samosas and bread in Busia town. With time, each child acquired a stall in a market in Busia and they sold items like salt, sugar and match boxes.
By the time he got to secondary school, Muggagga was paying school fees for his younger siblings. When he completed Senior Four, he dropped out of school to give a chance to his younger siblings to attend school. He, instead, concentrated on his business.
In 2000, Muggagga ventured into selling eggs. “I borrowed the money which I used to start the business,” he says.
He started with 100 eggs, which he got from his uncle, Francis Senfuma. He was selling the eggs in a room he had been offered to start his business. After sometime, Muggagga set up his own shop. He took eggs to the Busia border about four times a month. Each time he took the eggs, he earned between sh400,000m and sh1m.
An incomplete house on sale
In 1997, Muggagga’s brother, Bernard Lutaya, told him about a house that was on sale. “It was a six-bedroom house in Kimenyedde village,” Muggagga recalls. “It had been built up to the wall plate and it had some shops at the front.” The property cost Muggagga sh1.8m.
He worked hard and roofed the house, which consumed 60 pieces of wood and 60 iron sheets. Each sheet cost him sh12,000.
He spent sh38,000 on the each of the three windows that he put up. The wooden doors which he put at the front of the house cost him sh120,000 each. The doors at the back of the house were half the price. Muggagga spent about sh 2.5m to complete the house.
Muggagga’s second house
Earlier in 1990, Muggagga had bought a 50x100ft plot. He started developing it in 2000. He took his time buying the items that he needed to build the house.
“It took me six years to build the six-bedroom house.” Muggagga used more than 12,000 bricks, each costing sh50. I used 80 bags of cement, each costing sh17,000 per bag. I used 50 iron sheets at the cost of sh22,500 each and 150 pieces of wood, each at sh3,500. The were four windows, each going for sh180,000.
The three doors were metallic and glass, each costing sh300,000. Muggagga says the whole house cost about sh20m.
His biggest challenge was poor access to water sources during the construction. Each jerrycan cost him sh100.
Another challenge was the lack of builders. He had to transport some of the workers from Busia to Nakifuma.
In 2005, Muggagga chose to supplement his income with farming. He started growing watermelon, tomatoes, sugarcane, maize and matooke, which he sold from his garden.
He has since given up on selling eggs to concentrate on farming. he reaps up to sh2m with a good harvest.