New Vision (Kampala)

16 November 2012

Uganda: He Built a House With Shs. 400,000 Salary

After graduating in 2000, Benard Daada secured a job in a private school. In the school he was given a room to sleep to share with his two friends.

Daada stayed in this room as he saved his sh300,000 per month of his sh400,000 salary to buy land so that he could start building as he had made up his mind not to rent again.

"I was already biased about renting and never wanted to rent at all so I stayed in the house which was given to me by the school until my friends started leaving to go and rent one my one," Daada reveal.

"Their departure from the house gave me an opportunity to stay alone and even plan better until I raised sh7m that I used to buy land in 2002," he says.

After buying the land he was so eager to start building. He was too excited that he owned land and this motivated him to save more so that he could start building.

He decided to part-time in three other schools to teach in so that he could increase his savings sh750,000 per month and start building.

Within two-years he had raised sh18m, which he thought was good enough to start. However, he did not know anything about construction.

He took time finding out the dos and don'ts of the construction industry. He also found out about prices of construction materials which helped him a lot during the process of building.

He got himself a plan for his house and started to visit various construction sites to see what was going on. He learnt from his visits that to have a good house one needs a good engineer or architect, while constructing.

He started his construction journey in 2006, but little did he know that some workers were cheating him.

In 2007 he had reached the roofing level, but due to pressure from his bosses he had to quit the school house, which he was staying in and either rent or share it with other teachers.

How he built

When news of quitting or sharing the house reached Daada, he had little to worry about. He could not stand sharing a house again and instead opted to quit the school house. He entered his house before he could fit windows and glass doors, he used cardboard papers in the windows and doors.

He had not even floored it, but decided to enter it before he could finish rather than rent to be at the mercy of landlords.

He slept in his house without worrying about a landlord knocking at the door to ask for rent. But staying in an incomplete house, gave him more determination to continue building. Whenever he would wake up, he would purpose to complete something on the house.

"I started with finishing the bedroom before I completed the other rooms and the kitchen plus the bathrooms," says Daada.

He says when he finished his bedroom he looked at how beautiful it looked, that he had to struggle to make the rest of the house look just as beautiful.

He worked all the time leaving him with little time to rest.

He spent over sh700,000 to buy glasses to fit in his house. He does not remember the exact amount he spent on tiles, timber for roofing and the boards for the ceiling.

However, altogether he says he spent about sh60m on construction. He completed the house in 2008. Today, he owns a three bedroom house, a sitting room, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a garage in Seeta Mukono district. But to date his outside verandah is still wanting.

He says he enjoys the comfort of his house and will work on his verandah with time.

Background

Daada grew up under tough conditions as he saw his parents rent houses one after the other.

"My parents could at times fail to pay rent on time and the landlord would harass us like we were the poorest people in the world," he says.

"I remember it was only sh60,000 per month, but sometimes we could take three months without paying, but we had to bear with the landlord's insults till we cleared all the rent bills, "he says.

This kind of life was not the best for Daada, but he is grateful that it introduced him to hard work and through it he has achieved what he has.

Daada says, despite the challenges his parents managed to educate him to university where he graduated with a degree in education.

Challenges

Daada says, construction is very expensive as the material prices go high every other day. He says he faced the problem of workers stealing his building materials and at times over charging him for work done. By the time he realised he was being cheated, he was in the final stages of construction and could not redeem the situation.

Daada advises that when one is not experienced, it is important to have good engineers and architects to help in providing technical advise.

He encourages potential home owners to engage in the supervision of their sites or else lose out.

He reveals that his workers were oppressed by the person who was in charge of supervising his project.

Because of this, he hired new workers all the time because those he had brought in the beginning had left.

Daada believes following your heart should go hand-in-hand with hard work, but when you are lazy you end at dreaming.

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