Business is sometimes seasonal depending on demand of certain commodities and services or changes in style. When performance of business changes negatively without any of the changes above or others related, the business operator risks either loosing his business or maintaining it, hence enduring the hard times.
Emma operates from Kicukiro Central area. He transports people by bicycle mainly from the villages to the main road. The business is not common in Rwanda compared to how it booms in Uganda. Locally known as boda-boda in Uganda, the transport system operates even in the capital city Kampala.
Emma’s permanent stage is adjacent Urwego opportunity bank branch which operates in the area. This enables him to easily tap some bank clients from the villages and some retail business men and women who seek transportation of their light goods from the town centre to their operational places.
He has been operating from that particular area for three years. He says he has been working hard and sustaining his family’s demands although once in a while things never came his way.
Appearing to be in his early 30s, he has a family of four including two children and a wife.
However, Emma is disappointed by the fact that clients are no longer willing to pay as they used to. Many pay him less money compared to how it was in the past.
“It surprises me to see that for the distance I used to carry a passenger for Rwf 200, they are no longer in position to pay that much instead, they want to pay Rwf 100.”
Emma says that passengers claim that there is “no money these days.”
He says that as a result of this, family responsibilities have become more challenging
He explains “I am facing hard time which has not been the case. Home necessities are becoming hard to get yet I am working.”
There being no union to advocate for standard prices, Emma has to be content with what he manages to negotiate for with his customers.
He says this is so because he has to support his family whatever the case may be.
Emma has however not taken it just at face value. He says that he tried to investigate from colleagues and realised that it is a general problem. Every one is complaining of little income.
“They are all in the same situation.” He notes with a tinge of sadness in his voice.
However, he seems to understand that business is at times very challenging. He says that even people in other sectors are complaining.
This has stressed him to the extent that he has had to consult many people on what step to take.
According to Emma, the global financial crisis has not affected only those in international businesses but penetrated far deep to the village businesses.
Although he finds it hard to understand the whole situation, his clients are simply making him understand it.
Emma still does find it perplexing that he could also be facing hard times because of the global financial crisis that started in the United States. How it affects his business in Kicukiro is just confusing to him.
“I thought this could only affect the United States and probably her immediate neighbours.”