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By Eric Barigye

Welcome back to our weekly blog which will be focusing on a particular aspect of Ugandan life and using it to teach more about the people and place that plays host to our Adventure Like No Other. 

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Each week, Eric will be helping us to explore all things Uganda!

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This week we will be looking into a day in the life of a taxi motorcyclist in Masaka. The bike system that ensures people get from point A to point B as quickly as possible is commonly known as “Bodaboda”. The name is thought to originate from the bordering towns of Uganda and Kenya, which used the bikes as a cheap way to ferry people and goods between the two countries. 

Kafuma Edwin is 35 years old and has been riding bodas for 15 years. Having ended school very early, he entered the family business of coffee trading. Given that trading season in the coffee business only runs for 4 months of the year, a young Edwin needed something else to bring in an income, so he started riding motorcycles. 

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Edwin’s day begins at 7 AM. After preparing for the day he is out of the house and on the road and parked at his main stage (where he waits for customers – see left) by 7:45 AM. His first few customers provide the money for breakfast, which he buys from passing roadside food sellers while on his bike at the stage. He rides all day but always aims to have lunch around 1 PM. For lunch, he goes to a local eatery. It is the rainy season in Masaka right now so this is welcome rest and shelter from the rain when it is coming down. After lunch, it is back to the stage and transporting customers till 8PM when Edwin retires for the day. 

 

“This work isn’t bad. It does not need lots of skill or qualifications so anyone can start. It is especially good when you have a goal in mind. People have got children through school and even paid off loans riding bodas.” Edwin tells us.

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Edwin rides about 40 people a day which amounts to about 13 dollars in earnings. Boda trips are usually short distance within and around the town of Masaka. As mentioned earlier we are in the rainy season in Masaka so most people are hesitant to use bodas because it doesn’t provide cover from the downpours. 

Edwin is very proud to have bought a 2-acre area where he is going to plant coffee. He is using the profits from the boda business as capital for this new venture. 

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