While his colleagues had fun in the holidays, Hannington Kasibante would be busy studying a Carpentry and Wood Joinery Course at Kabasanda Technical Institute.
By the time he completed Senior Six in 2002, Kasibante who had been doing physics, chemistry and biology had completed his carpentry course. In his Senir Six vacation, Kasibante joined a workshop in Makerere to get experience.
Over the years, Kasibante managed to start up his workshop called Modern Furniture Workshop in Bwaise, a Kampala suburb.
Initially, Kasibante employed five workers but they were not easy to manage: â€œI used to spend so more money on workers. They wanted much money than they deserved. Some would ask for half of our dayâ€™s earnings which was impossible,â€ he says.
â€œBesides, when a customer came in my absence, they would sometimes run away with his money, compeling me to repay it to maintain my image.â€
It was after this bitter experience that Kasibante decided to get rid of all his workers and work alone. He says since then, the business has been growing. Eight years down the road, Kasibante, who makes dining sets, sideboards, beds, mirrors and cupboards, earns between sh500,000 and sh2m on a good day.
Kasibante says one of the challenges is dealing with customers who deposit money for furniture only to return asking for it, claiming they have urgent problems to address.
He says some customers have pointed a pistol at him on discovering that their orders were not ready.
â€œThe client may come back after four months asking for his refund. When you tell him to return the following day when you expect to have got the money, he calls the Police,â€ Kasibante relates.
To avoid such situations, he now sells only finished products.
Despite the challenges, Kasibante says he has managed to set up a shop and a welding workshop. He has also bought a motorcycle and opened up a video hall.
In future, Kasibante hopes to go into piggery to increase his earnings.
CARVING A LIVING OUT OF CARPENTRY