When Daniel first started as a server at Elephante, he was grateful for everyone’s patience with him as he’s learned the ropes. “They always showed me the right thing to do,” he says. “Showing, directing, and correcting me.
He spent close to two years traveling to and from Kampala for random bartending gigs before one of his best friends, Andrew (a pizza chef), advised him to apply to Elephante. Now he’s glad to work in a good place. His managers motivate the staff to concentrate on their work rather than quarreling and causing them to lose morale. He’s able to support his family, sending money back for his mother and father and for his brother’s school fees. Growing up, Daniel wasn’t able to finish secondary school because his father got sick and lost his job, and Daniel has been working ever since.
He travels back and forth on his scooter, a gift from another good friend, which also gives him some freedom to do some of the things he likes, like playing football. By his own admission, Daniel is really good, especially as goalkeeper and striker. (He swore off playing midfield after trying it only once when he ended up with a red card.)
Eventually - before he gets married - he wants to open up his own saloon (“salon” in the American lexicon) or barbershop and maybe even a rolex* point. “The problems are really about the politicians,” he explains. “Even if people in the community want to start doing anything, when you don’t have enough resources or support, you have to talk to some of those big people. In some areas they help, but not here. They just want to make their own money.” His hope is that when Gulu is declared a city, the power structures and local economy will be shaken up for the better. “There will be more factories and foreign businesses,” he says, “and more jobs will be created, and there would be less corruption.”
*rolex is a tortilla with egg inside