By Damalie Nankunda Mukama and Fred Ouma, World Vision
At 35, David has so many things to be proud of and no doubt to the great admiration of his peers and the community of Ogolai village, Tubur sub-county.
But, it has not been a smooth journey. For about five years, David gambled with life and did not know what the future held for him. “It was a hopeless situation,” he recalls.
Life was challenging for David and his entire family. “I am the eldest child in my family. Through small-scale cultivation, I started supporting my father to take care of my younger siblings,” he said.
The turning point came in 2007 when David joined a driving school with the support from World Vision. I will always remember the year 2007 because it marked the beginning of a positive journey in my life,” he said.
“The first day I joined a driving school was my happiest and is beyond any description.”
Out of the driving school and determined to succeed, David first worked as a turn-boy on a pick-up vehicle owned by a businessman in his home town of Soroti, in eastern Uganda. “I would load and offload merchandise to and from the market,” he said.
Knowing that it takes patience and diligence to be trusted, David demonstrated these virtues in everything he did and soon he was rewarded. “After a week of active and loyal service, the vehicle owner asked me if I could drive and I said yes. He then told me I was responsible for the pickup as its driver,” he recalled with hearty laughter. “You needed to feel my heartbeats. My happiness was beyond description.”
Like a Biblical David, who stood up against Goliath, David, a born of Teso, has overcome many odds and it has been one achievement after another. After being in charge of the pick-up for a year, David felt the desire to own one. And he did. “So I worked hard and in one year, I bought this particular vehicle.”
From a turn-boy, David had become a vehicle owner in just one year! From then onwards, business just got better as he went into the produce business.
Witnessing David seated next to his wife, he fondly calls dear, and the happy bond they share with their three children is enough to appreciate the impact of World Vision’s support in his life. “Since the day I learnt driving, my life changed forever and beyond,” said David. “I was brought to the level I never expected.”
In an area that is largely comprised of grass thatched mud-and-wattle houses, David now boasts of having a congregated iron-roofed brick-and-mortar house. “I can confidently say that I have the best house in the whole village,” said David as he spread his hands wide. “I have solar for lighting because I want my children to be able to revise their books at night.”
But David is not only an owner of the best house, he is also the best cassava farmer. “Anyone who claims to grow cassava in this village cannot be compared to me,” David said, exuding confidence. “I am the best farmer.”
David not only grows cassava, he also provides a ready market for other farmers in his village. His vision is clear: “I want the best for his family.”
Following what he has achieved, David is convinced beyond doubt it has been God’s favour. “We were many young people who were given opportunity by World Vision to train in different skills of our choice but many of my peers are nowhere. You can hardly trace them as most of them are not doing well financially. This is God’s favour. His grace is sufficient and I am a witness,” David said with a hint of spiritual pride in his voice.
As we were about to complete this interview, David’s phone rang. “It’s my customer waiting for a delivery of produce,” he said as his face glow with a wide smile reminiscent of a contented but and humble man.