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Sichilima: Determined to achieve

Sunday Profile: MIKE MUGALA, Lusaka
HE PUSHED through school despite the odds though his Grade 12 examination results were not what he expected. Despite this, he refused to feel sorry for himself and found ways of generating an income for sustenance.
Rodgers Sichilima, 30, lost maternal love following the death of his mother in 2000. During the same period, his father retired. The world was crumbling and he sought refuge in God.
“Every morning when I wake up, I talk to God in prayer for guidance and protection. The Bible says I knew you before you were born. I know the plans I have for you. For me, the day starts and ends with God,” Rodgers said.
Born on November 6, 1986, Rodgers had big dreams of breaking the cycle of poverty when he started school at Lusaka’s Chawama Primary School in 1995. Those dreams were shattered when there was no one to pay for his education.
“Life became unbearable. I really wanted to pursue my education but the family had no money,” he said.
With so much clouding his mind, Rodgers attempted Grade Seven examinations, but failed. He made a u-turn and focused his energies to God by being actively involved in the church.
During a choir visitation in Serenje district in 2006, one of the church leaders was touched by his story and promised to send Rodgers back to school.
“I was hired to be a shop-keeper by the church elder and was earning K100 a month,” he said.
Six months down the line Rodgers quit because the monthly income was not able to sustain him. Determined to go back to school, he again attempted to write Grade Seven examinations and qualified to go to Grade Eight.
Wondering how he would continue with his education, God again answered his prayers by his path crossing with another church member, who he only recalls as Mrs Mwango.
“The woman counselled me during a church camp meeting assuring me that God was the provider. She extended her kindness by offering to pay for my education on condition that she monitored my performance,” he said.
Unfortunately, the sponsorship discontinued because she had other commitments.
Despite the short comings, Rodgers persevered and his hard work in school resulted in him being identified by one of the teachers.
The teacher continued where Mrs Mwango left off and she also played the role of a parent by motivating Rodgers not to give up on his education.
In 2011, Rodgers wrote his Grade 12 examination, however the results he got were not what he had expected.
“I did not do well in Grade 12. However, I was offered a one-month sponsorship to do a computer course,” Rodgers said.
With his basic knowledge in computers, Rodgers has not been idle but has ventured into the wheelbarrow business.
With a fighting spirit, in 2013, he attempted to partner with a friend in a panel-beating business but did not derive satisfaction as he felt there could be other business ventures where he could generate more money.
Three years later, he ventured into the wheelbarrow business, which he has been doing for three months now. He hires a wheelbarrow and pays K5 daily to the owner.
“The wheelbarrow pushing business is a more lucrative venture for me and I enjoy what I do. On a good day, I make K100 from which I save K50.
Some people are skeptical about this job, but I thank God for giving me life and the energy to do the job,” he said.
He does not mind what people might think of him but he is glad that he is able to put food on the table through the business.
He says God’s plans, and not man’s, work in mysterious ways.
Rodgers has big dreams of being a lawyer and owning a law firm, a dream he has not given up on. Education opens doors to greater opportunities and this dream he wants to fulfil.
“Success comes with humility, and God raises people who lower themselves. People must swallow their pride and stop being selective on what jobs to do. Whether it is a white-collar job or not, the primary issue is earning an income,” he said.
Rodgers, who is the fourth born in a family of six, ends his day satisfied as he heads home to spend time with his siblings and father in Lusaka’s Chawama township.