(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Chaka Dagnoko – Mechanic, Mali

Chaka Dagnoko, Truck mechanic in Yirimadjo neighbourhood of Bamako. November 2012
Sidiki Dembele/IRIN

Chaka Dagnoko is a mechanic living in Yirimadjo in Commune Six of the Malian capital, Bamako.

Name: Chakana Dagnoko

Age: 25

Location: Yirimadjo, Bamako.

Does your spouse/partner live with you? No.

What is your primary job? Mechanic.

What is your monthly salary? $100 when I get my salary.

What is your household’s total income - including your partner’s salary, and any additional sources? Uncle sends $100 every three months.

How many people are living in your household - what is their relationship to you? Brother.

How many are dependent on you/your partner's income - what is their relationship to you? Brother and mother - both partially.

How much do you spend each month on food? $60

What is your main staple - how much does it cost each month? Rice. $60 for a bag of rice.

How much do you spend on rent? $40

How much on transport? Other? $25 on electricity and water

How much do you spend on educating your children each month? I don’t have children.

After you have paid all your bills each month, how much is left? It depends.

Have you or any member of the household been forced to skip meals or reduce portion sizes in the last three months? If I don’t have enough, I am careful about what I eat, yes.

Have you been forced to borrow money, or food, in the last three months to cover basic household needs? No, though I rely on my uncle’s handouts.

“Since the coup d’état our work has slowed down - markets are much quieter and people have less money to spend.

“My financial situation isn’t stable - it depends on how much work we get during the year. If there are lots of breakdowns then I receive my salary; if not my salary will come in late.

“I support my brother and also send money to my mother each month so she can run her doughnut business. With my expenses my salary can sometimes be gone in one week. That’s my biggest problem - don’t ask me how I make ends meet.

“Other months I earn a lot and I eat more. But when I don’t earn much I’m very careful about what I eat. I try to take on extra work outside of the garage, and my uncle in the USA sends me money every few months. He has promised to help get me to the States next year to help him run his business.

“I’ve brought my younger brother down from Sikasso after he was expelled from school, as he was doing nothing. A carpenter friend of mine is teaching him carpentry and he’s already earning a bit. Thank God that is working out.

“My biggest expense at the moment is saving up to get married. I don’t have any children yet - I wonder how I’d manage when I had children to look after also.

“I should have work here in the future as my boss is involved in building the new airport in Bamako. The funding [Millennium Challenge Account] stopped with the coup d’état but the government has just re-started the project using its own money. That means the boss will pay our salary arrears.

“I haven’t had any bad news recently. I pray to God that nothing bad will happen to me.

“In one year who knows what will happen. In any case, I have hope. A miracle could happen at any time, otherwise I don’t know how I’ll be richer in one year. But God is great and anything could happen.”


June 2013 update

Share this article
Join the discussion

Support our work

Donate now