THE CURIOUS TECHNICIANS

Curiosity led them to learn new skills

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How would you feel if you found a way to your goal simply through constant curiosity? Uwimana, 22, made the difficult decision to take a break from school when she completed ordinary level and went to learn how to fix radios, televisions, phones and other electronic devices. Her 16-year-old friend Aliane also learned how to fix equipment from her dad, after he realised how interested she was. Ni Nyampinga met the pair as they discussed how curiosity led them to learn new skills, and how they are using these skills to pay for school materials and other basic needs.

Uwimana and Aliane study at the same school in Musanze District. Both shared the same curiosity to know how to fix radios, televisions, and phones when they are damaged. This led them to learn a new skill. “When my dad was fixing these kinds of devices, I used to watch him from afar. Sometimes, he would come home and realise that I had tinkered with his stuff, and so he started teaching me,” said Aliane, whose interest in repairing started when she was just 12.

Aliane asked Uwimana how she started repairing electronics, to which she replied: “On my way from school, I used to pass by a place where they repaired things and I watched them, which sparked my interest and I wanted to learn how too.” One day, she got an incredible opportunity: “My dad sent me to get his phone fixed. I watched as they opened it and tinkered with it. I wondered how it was done.” Uwimana had made up her mind. She wanted to repair things. After finishing her third year of secondary school, she decided to learn how to fix radios, televisions, and phones

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Even though Aliane only has basic knowledge in repairing things, she aspires to learn more once she reaches Senior 4. In the meantime, she has found another way to improve her skills and understanding: “Sometimes, when my dad is not around to teach me, I go to the repair shops so they can show me how they do it,” says Aliane, who believes when you want to learn something, you do everything you can to grow your knowledge and experience. With her father’s support, who believes her daughter can learn from others, Aliane visits electronic workshops in her community to see professionals in action and to learn from them.

Given that the two Ni Nyampingas are still students, they do part-time work after school, on evenings or weekends. From this work, they earn money, which helps them to buy things they need like notebooks.

But there are also challenges that come with this career. Explaining some of them, Uwimana said to Aliane: “Normally, I repair a phone in one day. However, one time someone gave me a phone to fix, and I spent a week on it, and still, I could not fix it.” This situation stressed Uwimana. “When the owner of the phone asked me what was taking so long, I didn’t have an answer.” She later consulted someone who fixes things, and he helped her see what the problem was, so she was able to repair the phone

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They both agreed that before repairing something, a person should first think twice and understand what the real issue is.

Aliane said to Uwimana: “Even when you are used to repairing phones, not all phones have the same problems. It’s better to know the real problem and let the owner know that it will take time to fix to avoid disappointments.”

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Aliane and Uwimana want all Ni Nyampingas to know that if there is something that they are curious and passionate about, they should strive to learn more about it because it will probably be very useful in the future.

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