By Ronny Ssemujju, Harper Hill Global correspondent, Uganda
If you come from the city, it looks like an ordinary car wash. But for the rural town of Wobulenzi, it is the most modern in the area with a jet nozzle pipe, something no else has there.
However, that is not what makes this particular car wash different. Yes, it could boast of its cleanliness, the integrity and work ethic of the employees as reviewed by the customers I interviewed, but what makes it different is the story behind it. And for that, I talked to Ken Kalungi, the gentleman who dared to dream.
Why a car wash amidst the Covid-19 pandemic?
“A lot of the youth around me are unemployed. Some end up giving up on life and just do whatever to survive – harmful activities, criminal activities – you know how life goes. I figured I can help employ some of them if I started a car wash. We currently have eight full time employees as we are at the birthing stage, but I will employ more as we expand. I have two students who are currently getting their tuition from working here on weekends and holidays. While agriculture seems like the safest venture, it is seasonal and I cannot control the weather, pests, plus it would require a much bigger space. So Visa Fee Jet Car Wash is how I am tackling unemployment of the youth in my area. One of the employees is actually a pastor; he does counseling and wins souls right in this compound. I hope to employ more females as I open a coffee shop onsite. We hope to also hold prayers here once we get the shade up and have water baptism since we have a tank.
I also talked to one of the employees; she is actually the accountant/manager of the car wash. I asked her how she felt being younger than some of the male employees and their leader.
“Truthfully it was scary at first because I had never been in a leadership position. I didn’t think these men would listen and actually obey me. But they have been very respectful and so we haven’t had any problems apart from late arrivals sometimes. Everyone respects each other and does their job. It is like a family and they are my big brothers but I am the mother (she laughs). The people in the community see that women make good leaders once given the opportunity.”
The customers had raving reviews about this car wash; “Here, they don’t drive our cars like at other car washes, they wash very quickly, and it is first-come-first-served no matter the type of car you have.” The major complaint however was the fact they don’t have uniforms (overalls), something Ken said he would address once the car wash turns enough profit.
Harper Hill Global supports entrepreneurs whose businesses create positive effects in their communities. A special thanks to those of you who are giving to make a lasting difference. Your gifts help people arise!