The iron-smith: bending life to his will
Life can be hard and cruel, but with determination (and some skills) you can turn it around.
For Mahame Nizeyimana, early life was not auspicious at all. “My parents died when I was young, so I did not go to school. I was on my own, and life did not look good,” he recalls.
He wandered around, going from place to place in search of work. His chances changed when one day he came across Minani trainer association in Nyamirambo, where he got a chance to acquire skills as a smith.
“It took me just six months to learn the skills; I had expected it would take me at least a year, but I got out much sooner than expected,” Mahame says.
At first he limited himself to making metallic boxes, since they are not too demanding and much in demand to carry commodities in wedding ceremonies. Later, he expanded to hoes, spades, pickaxes, and cake tins, among others. Today, he has gotten to the stage where he regularly gets orders, so that he is ensured that his production will be sold.
It is a remarkable turnaround from a boy roaming the streets to, today, a husband and father capable of sustaining his family. “My family depends on me, so if I don’t work hard then they are in trouble,” Mahame points out while he hammers on a red hot iron bar to make a pickaxe.
The work suits him all the better since he remains independent, as he learnt to be in his youth. “I don’t rent a place, I don’t have a boss – I control my work, I don’t have any pressure,” he explains.
To Mahame, it also shows that even if you can’t get an education, it doesn’t mean you cannot make it in life. According to him, you could make a worse choice than becoming a smith. “It is easy to learn and does not take much time, and I can attest that it surely pays,” he says.
And even if you are lucky enough to have an education, Mahame still thinks you should not sit at home looking for jobs, but instead become self-reliant.
“Most people think that office jobs are the best, but I don’t agree. People may look down on it, but I like my job as a smith and it earns me a living,” he explains, adding that when it comes to making a living, “we should be creative – it is the only way to survive and make your dreams come true.”
Who could disagree with such a glowing remark?