Meet The Man With A Van Crew: Watuwa Nambuya
Part of the team: Watuwa Nambuya
At Man With A Van, we’re pretty proud of our crew - so much so that we will be regularly featuring them so that you can get to know them better. This week we’re thrilled to introduce you to Watuwa, an incredibly hard working member of the team who has come a long way – literally! We sat down with Watuwa recently to find out more about his career and life to date.
And it’s quite a story.
Originally from Uganda, Watuwa arrived in Australia with his brother in 2001. They got off to a rocky start when their mother was left waiting for them at Melbourne airport but they had accidentally arrived at Sydney instead. Nevertheless, the authorities were able to help Watuwa and his brother, putting them on a quick plane down to Melbourne where they were relieved to be reunited.
“I was 17 and my brother was 15. It was a completely new thing for us. We were overwhelmed with joy.” Watuwa explained that when he arrived he could speak little to no English, however, it wasn’t long before his mum enrolled him in a TAFE course to get some further education under his belt.
“I studied, learnt how to speak to people, and from there people at home were ringing, they needed help. I had to look for work.”
Watuwa went on to do factory work in an attempt to get by and support his loved ones, but he was met with the dark side of Australia’s workforce time and again. At one stage Watuwa was working for an astonishingly low and illegal rate of $4 an hour making punching bags.
“I’ve been to too many workplaces. Some of them are good, they look after you, and some of them talk to you like you’re not even a human, so at the time it was really like, why are people like this?”
In addition to the hardship of being exploited as a young, hopeful employee, Watuwa’s teens were met with a typical level of angst which saw him run away from home at around 17 or 18 resulting in him living around the streets of Brunswick for a while. Fast forward fifteen years and Watuwa has well and truly found his feet and long called Australia home.
Asked what he misses about Uganda and Watuwa barely needs to think about it, “The community. People have nothing but at the same time, they have everything. It comes down to the community. Just talking to someone, even if you’re stressed, you forget what you are stressed about.”
Watuwa says he loves Australia too, “The first impression in the week that I started here… Friday. BBQ and beer. What? Who does that? Who does that for so many people? It’s really good. Being able to work with different people, talking to different people about different things, learning from them, my English has improved, my talking has improved. I mean, interacting with people in general – this job has shown me a lot.”
Pressed on his dreams outside of work, Watuwa explains that he’d love to do many things but his writing ability limits him from doing so.
“What is a belief you live by?”, we asked him.
“I live by helping those who can’t help themselves. If I’m down, I would like somebody to say, “Are you ok down there? Do you need help to get up?” I want to do the same for anyone else, it doesn’t matter if you know me or don’t know me.”
It’s easy to see why Watuwa is such a critical member of the Man With A Van crew. His generous spirit, ethics, and determination to combat anything life throws at him, makes him the ideal team player and someone we’re really proud to have on board.