A lady in Bomet town has courageously come up to shape her career as a bodaboda mechanic, defying the odds and stereotypes associated with the occupation.
For decades now, research shows that some occupations have been reserved for a certain gender. For instance, house cleaning and babysitting is mostly reserved for women while occupations such as wood work and mechanic is known for men.
Ms. Mercy Chelangat, 24, and a mother of one was the first female mechanic in Bomet town and has been repairing motorbikes since 2014.
Her decision to start joining this challenging occupation was triggered by the fact that she lacked school fees after completing her K.C.P.E exams.
“After completing my primary school education, I couldn’t proceed to secondary school because my parents had no money to support me with. Life was difficult and I thought I should look for something that can earn me something small. I developed keen interest in mechanics. A friend mentored me and within five months I was ready to go on my own,” she narrated.
Ms. Mercy said she enjoys doing her work as a mechanic. “It was a tough work but I loved it from the start. It was so interesting,” she said.
However, the beginning wasn’t easy for her because of the hard labor and overcoming the prejudice.
“At the beginning, it was hard for me to get a customer because men couldn’t believe I can do a good job on the grounds that I was a lady. I had to be so patient and once I convince one, they would go back a happy client,” she recalled.
Mercy stated that the job needed one to be aggressive because whenever a client comes, the first person to approach the customer will be the lucky one and that the effort one puts determined how much he/she will go home with.
She has so far mentored two others making a total of three women in the entire town of Bomet.
Mercy also doubles up as a plant operator.
“After saving some money, I decided to go to Sen Sei institute to train as a plant operator. This will boost my earnings whenever I get a contract as a plant operator” she said.
She intends to open up her own workshop and sell motor bike spare parts once she saves more money so that she can employ others.
By Julie Chepkirui