How foray into jua kali changed my life

Jackson Ambundo

Jackson Ambundo could not proceed to high school after his primary education owing to lack of fees and he began life doing menial jobs that came his way.

Four years ago, a chance that was to shape his work life came his way, and he seized it. A friend of his introduced him to the world of jua kali and offered him an apprenticeship free of charge.

“It took me a year to learn the tricks of this trade and perfect my skills,” he says.

Today, the 29-year-old father of three and resident of Mwariki estate in Nakuru County says the job had been doing well and it is his main source of income. His workshop is located at Tabuga along the busy Dondori-Lanet-Nakuru route.

He specialises in making water cans, mop cans, chicken feeders and watering troughs, gutters, boxes, frying pans, charcoal jikos among a host of other domestic and farm appliances.

On a daily basis, Ambundo takes home Sh1,500 but the amount can vary depending on the number of orders picked. He cannot handle all the orders alone so he has employed an assistant.

“This is a good business to go into but just like any other trade, it has its ups and downs like when clients place an order and don’t make a deposit which makes me operate from my pocket,” he said.

Other challenges include sourcing for raw materials ranging from ordinary roofing mabatis to different gauges of metal sheets for specific items. Then there is the transportation issue especially when ferrying bulk orders to clients. County askaris also sometimes confiscate some of his finished items and by the time he goes to redeem them some items cannot be traced.

“Competition from other artisans also exists and this dictates prices, which means even high quality items are sold cheaply,” he says.