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I first came to the UK in 2003, and before I left Uganda, friends and family said I should never go back home, this was my opportunity to go make money abroad. It was a different story when I landed at Gatwick, biting cold welcomed me, and I thought to myself, I cannot handle this, how do people go to work in this kind of weather? I just spent a month and went back home.
I then came back in 2004 and this time it was summer, friends here would talk, actually brag, about work and how much money they are making. They would promise to help me get a job, but in the three weeks I was around I couldn’t get a job and returned to Uganda. The 3rd time I came back was for training but I knew it deep inside me, its not easy living here illegally, so there was no way I could stay.
A friend then told me about the maker of working holiday visa and thought I stood better chances of getting it, since I had been responsible with my previous visas as I had never overstayed it. I didn’t use any agency, just submitted the right paperwork. by myself. I don’t usually trust people to do stuff for me because if it goes wrong then I have only myself to blame. It's no use to blame someone else when all your money is gone.
So I came back in December and didn’t start work till the end of January. Thank God I had friends who helped “initiate” me into the whole kyeyo (immigration) thing. I started with just two hours then got a 6-hour job. It was crazy, I had to wake up 2am and get ready for work at 5am, I had to take three different buses to get me to the 5am hectic job. I would finish by 11am, then rush somewhere else for two hours, then go home for a quick lunch and then an evening job and finally go to bed at 10pm and get up again 2am, crazy life. You have to work so hard to make ends meet here.
But I was of course lucky to work using my own paper work and not have to worry about paying the owner of the paper work, I also didn’t have to worry about being caught and eventually deported. You don’t need that when work itself is so stressful. And of course it paid off, Thank God I managed to pay fees for two of my siblings at University, with a lot of ease, build a small house in my village and really support my family back home.