The Struggles & Successes Of A Salesman.
Until the age of thirty-two, Narendra lived in Mbale, Uganda, where he acquired his parents’ keen senses for commerce. He had an enjoyable work-life balance: running his own businesses for a living, and spending his down time volunteering, picnicking, or mingling with friends at local clubs.
During the Ugandan Asians exodus, it wasn’t easy for Narendra to come to terms with the harsh reality that this lifestyle was going to end. He began trying to tie up loose ends, but by no means was it a smooth process. Nevertheless, danger and desolation galore, he and his wife managed to flee Uganda for good.
Narendra and his wife arrived in a camp in the UK. Their initial experience there was a huge improvement upon the pandemonium they’d left behind: they were shown kindness, and found happiness in the little things. But there was still a long and hard road ahead—Narendra had to find ways to make ends meet and rebuild his life.
Narendra’s determination helped him do exactly that. By working various jobs through day and night, and using his talents as a salesman, he saved enough money over the years to buy his own house in London. Now retired, and feeling fulfilled with what he has achieved, he credits the UK, and the lessons it taught him, as the driving force behind his success.
Below is an extract from Narendra’s heart-stopping story.
“We helped people by packing up their household items and having the items sent to their final destinations—that way, they’d at least have a few possessions upon arrival. I remember packing a fan for someone and hiding some of their family’s jewellery in it; at that time, you had to be creative to help people.
Ultimately, with intense feelings of sadness and fear, my wife and I said our own goodbyes to the good life we’d built. I remember bidding farewell to my shop assistant. He had always been loyal to me, and the sorrow over having to part ways was mutual. As a native Ugandan, he was staying in the country, so I gave him the business, the keys to my house, and whatever little stock that remained after the raiding. I was only allowed to take £55 for my family and I—although I did bring an additional 700 shillings that I’d hidden—so I gave the rest of my cash to my him too.”
We will be releasing contributors’ full stories at a later date, so please stay tuned for them. If you would like to read a full story now, then please see the first five stories posted here on our website.
This is a project by AFFCAD UK to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the exodus of Ugandan Asians, by collating and archiving the stories of those involved. If you would like to contribute a story, do get in touch here.