Sunday, 28 April 2013

The life of a woman mechanic


Aloysie Benimana (Mama Gatoya) repairing a motorbike.
With some mechanical knowledge she learnt from her husband, she is earning between 3000 and 5000 Rwandan francs per day by repairing motorcycles and she is proud that she contributes to her family and doesn’t have to rely on her husband to survive.
Aloysie Benimana, known as Mama Gatoya in Muyumbu Sector of Rwamagana District in the Eastern Province, is a 31-year-old mother of three children who attracted a lot of criticism from fellow women when she was learning from her husband how to repair motorcycles.
But while comparing the time back when she didn’t have a profession with today when she provides motor repair services in partnership with her husband, she lauds her chosen attitude of taking on jobs that were previously left for men.
Together with her husband, they managed to build a house in Muyumbu where they live and their family.
“It is the first high earning profession I have ever done in my life. It has eased my life and the benefit is totally different from what I earned from my former profession of farming,” Benimana said, also revealing that her dream now is to become a car driver.
She started her motorcycle repair career eight years ago when her and husband arrived in Kigali from Rutongo in Rulindo District of the Northern Province where they hail from.
While she started the career at a location nearby the offices of the Rwanda Development Board in Gishushu, she is now operating from Rugende fuel station in Rusororo Sector of Gasabo District.
“When we arrived in Kigali my husband was used to working alone as he was a motorcycle technician. I had to stay at home till he decided to teach me the profession that totally changed our life,” she said.
Warning fellow women
Many motorists from the area where Benimana operates said that her work is not different from that of men.
Her message for fellow women is to never reject any work saying it is not for their kind because they are able to do the same job as men.
“From my experience I realized that all jobs belong to both men and women,” she said.
In the past, Rwandans used to separate jobs whereby women would stay at home looking after children and doing domestic works and would depend on their husbands for cash because the latter were the ones to perform income generating activities.


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