Basemera shines on Fort Portal streets

By Wilson Asiimwe

“I had running battles with the law enforcers. They would evict me every day. I would move from place to place and because I had good food, my customers would follow me,” Basemera says.

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Like they say, patience pays. Beatrice Basemera began humble, as a street food vendor who had nothing, but a determination to work hard, focus and an uncompromising quest for success.

She is now one of the women to look up to in the town. Basemera has been on Fort Portal streets for over 20 years selling cooked food.

“I started out selling cooked food outside Mpanga Market in West Division in the 1990s. I would sell my food from here and around. Sometimes I used to stop people in corridors to market my food.”

 “I stopped my studies in Primary Four (P.4) and I knew I would never have a chance in the corporate world. So, I had to work hard. Sometimes education is not a guarantee for success. It is our mindset that determines who we become.  I have seven children and several others who I am now caring for,” Basemera says.

“I had running battles with the law enforcers. They would evict me every day. I would move from place to place and because I had good food, my customers would follow me,” Basemera says.

Basemera says he earns between sh100,000 and sh120,000, adding that her day starts at 6:00pm when she starts preparing food for the next day.

Training to handle food and hygiene and sanitation

Basemera and other food vendors in Fort Portal municipality were trained by Kabarole Resource and Research center {KRC} and Hivos on how to ensure that their food meets the required standards.

“We formed an association and every evening we inspect all the food vendors if we find that the sanitation and hygiene is not good, we stop you from working that day and if the problem persists, we suspend you for one month before indefinitely suspending you from the street,” Basemera says.

Basemera is also a member of the Orugali group, which advocates for the consumption of indigenous food as one way of fighting malnutrition under KRC and Hivos.

She adds that as a mother, it is very important to make children part of the business. As such, Basemera says she makes sure she takes care of her children, right from feeding them, medication and housing so that they can be able to save the money she would pay to workers.

“Two of my children work with me in my business. They were defiled and got pregenant before they could finish school, so, I decided to work with them. I want them to get money to care for their children since their lovers have failed to take care of them,” Basemera adds.

Basemera has bought a piece of land in Fort municipality where she lives with her family.

 “I had to plan and buy land and I also have over seven children for my late brother whose school fees I am paying. My family expects me to care for them and I spend over sh1m monthly on family needs.

“I paid for all the licenses including the health certificate authorizing me to handle food for human consumption and even the municipal council officials regularly visit my home to assess were I cook food from. However, they still harass me and need money whenever they come to my stall. I give them between sh20,000 and sh30,000 every time they come to my stall,” she says.

What do others say about Basemera

Rose Akugizibwe food vendor

Basemera has been in the food business for a long period and she has also helped us understand the business. She has many customers because of the quality of food which she prepares. We like working with her.

 Kabuye Swaleh a cyclist

Basemera is proud of her job and she has achieved a lot from her business, but above all she also takes time to inspect all other food vendors to ensure good hygiene and sanitation.