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How I built an eatery with Sh8,000



Fire, said the Roman stoic Seneca, is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men. Covid-19, arguably, provided the most prolific test of human resilience in modern times. A new crop of heroes and heroines has emerged, sharpened by the pandemic, hardened by the afflictions of this unprecedented malaise, shocked out of their comfort zones into a bold and resilient generation that could aptly espouse “nothing is impossible” as its operative catchphrase.

Josephine Muthoni aptly fits into this class. Today, she runs a fast-growing eatery along the Flyover-Njabini road in Magumu ward, Nyandarua county. The bustling restaurant, Rendezvous, recently clocked its third month in business, and seems poised for an even more lustrous future. She has even started a butchery on the premises.

“Mine is a unique business,” Muthoni told People Daily. “It was born in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic”.

By Grace

Rendezvous started from humble beginnings, kept afloat by a shoestring budget and the sheer fortitude of an intrepid entrepreneur who practically had nothing to lose.

In January, Muthoni took up a job at a local restaurant. She was happy with the modestly paying job, as it catered to her needs and those of her five children. Then Covid-19 came calling, rapturing her newly found joy when her employment was abruptly terminated in April.

She felt lost. All her life, Muthoni had tucked her plans in the comfort and security of her salary, which had now been snipped without notice. She’d been terminated without benefits, and it seemed certain she would drift into perpetual penury. In the ensuing bleakness, she resigned to her home, her pride, confidence and sense of direction ripped to tatters, unsure of what the winds of time would blow her way.

But as the colloquialism has it, ‘it ain’t over till the fat lady sings’, a silver tining materialised two months later when Muthoni received Sh5,000 from her chama. It felt like a windfall in the circumstances.

“I pondered over my options with the money. I was at a low moment in life, particularly due to challenges of feeding my family. I was bogged down by numerous thoughts, and was steeped in untold dilemmas over the little options I had given the meagre resources at hand. I was torn between spending the money on food and investing it. I knew that even if I opted to spend the money on our household needs, the amount would hardly sustain us for long. It probably wouldn’t last more than a week at most. In the end, I settled on investment. I approached my parents for help, and they gave me Sh3,000. And so with Sh8,000, I started the business”.

Capital base

Armed with what many would consider a measly capital base and her big vision, Muthoni set up shop. She started by naming the business By Grace Hotel, a name inspired by her belief in God’s providence and grace. A month later, she christened it Rendezvous, a name, she says, encapsulates her vision for the business as a leisurely meeting point.

The initial days saw her straddling all roles of the eatery, from cooking to serving customers to cleaning and accounting. She’d rise up at 4am and go to the market for supplies, before opening the business at 6am and preparing all early morning meals.

“I made Sh700 on my first day in business”, Muthoni beams. She didn’t sell tea that

first morning, as the day was shrouded in heavy mists, which hampered visibility of the new premises. People didn’t know a new eatery had opened. The mists thinned out later in the day and that was when customers started trickling in. The following day, she made Sh1,000, which increased to Sh1,500 on the third day. Ever since, the business has earned the confidence of the neighbourhood, and her fortunes have ballooned to what many would consider a respectable income.

“These days I make up to Sh4,000 a day; so far so good. The business is doing well,” she says. The demands of a growing customer base necessitated an extra hand. Today, she has employed two staff members, and from the look of things, Muthoni anticipates she will hire more labour in the future.

She is now hoping to upscale her enterprise to cater for specialty dishes. “A lot of people have been asking for chips, which I currently don’t serve,” she said. “I don’t have a deep fryer. I’m also using the two Thermos flasks I bought as I started the restaurant. I have not been able to increase them, among other necessities for the restaurant”.

One thing is for sure: Muthoni has graduated into a seasoned hospitality entrepreneur, eager to propel her enterprise into a bigger and sustainable income source for herself and her team. She is also firm that when the doors of employment were slammed in her face in April, they spelt a new beginning, one of independence and self-actualisation.

“I am past employment now,” she says with a laugh. wHer biggest take away?

“Though not an easy job, I have learnt that with determination and hope you can make it. It all requires a good attitude towards customers and being positive even in your mind,” says the businesswoman who hopes, in three months, to introduce chicken and chips and probably do barbecue because for her this is a dream come true.

I have learnt with determination and hope you can make it. It all requires a good attitude towards customers and being positive in your mind


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Keeping our family coffee business picking



When 41 -year-old Gitau Waweru Karanja was a boy, he recalls spending his school holidays in his grandfather’s coffee farm with his cousins. His late grandmother would push them to pick berries to earn pocket money. Though he took up his parents’ passion in interior design and studied Interior Design in Kwa Zulu Natal University in South Africa, he did he know that one day he would wake up and smell the coffee and participate in running his grandfather’s coffee farm.

Gitau is the third generation of his family to manage Karunguru Farm, which belonged to his late grandfather Geoffrey Kareithi. Kareithi had bought the 300-acre farm in Ruiru, from a white settler in 1972. Gitau is married to Wangeci Gitau who grew up in Maragwa, in Murang’a where they also had a coffee farm.

Values instilled

For Wangeci, despite growing up in the coffee fields, she was more passionate about tourism and was a travel consultant before becoming a tour manager at a local company.

In 2012, she got an ectopic pregnancy, which put her on bed rest and thus was compelled to quit her job. When she recovered, she began assisting her husband. “By that time, my husband was selling modern house doors, but the business took a while to pick. Then we began selling milk from Karunguru Farm, but the milk production went down in 2016. The management, comprising of family members, told us to address the issue by becoming dairy managers. But when we joined the management of Karunguru Farm, we saw an opportunity in coffee tours,” she says.

Taking cue from South Africa where they do wine tourism and also export wine, Gitau and his wife sought to use that knowledge in their coffee farm. “We started Karunguru Coffee and Tours after we found out that despite it being our main export, it was being underutilised when it comes to tourism. So, here we take visitors through the journey that coffee has to go through before getting to your cup,” explains Gitau. Everything is done in Karunguru Farm— including value addition such as processing coffee, drying and even roasting. “We have our very own packaged Karunguru Coffee, which is available in the market,” he adds.

Their late grandfather instilled in them a love for each other and every holiday it is the family culture to meet and bond as a family. The grandpa also ensured that the farm management is shared amongst all his seven children who meet every week to discuss the business of the farm. Once they come to an unanimous decision, it is then passed on to their children, who implements their decision.

Before one is given any role, you have _ . to be qualified for the position. “It’s not about being favoured, but your qualification. I am in tourism, so I handle the tourism aspect, my husband is in operations. In fact, one applies for the position and then you are interviewed. If you qualify, you are placed on probation until the management is satisfied that you can handle the role well,” says Wangeci.

No entitlement

What makes family business go down is the fact that people who are less qualified are employed. Other people have to cover up for their messes and this creates bitterness and conflict. Gitau sometimes watches his nephews and nieces in the farm, giving them roles to check out whether they have interest in the farm or not before beginning to mentor them. Everyone begins from the lowest level and must know how to roast, pack, as well as prepare a cup of Karunguru coffee. This is to en inculcate the spirit of appreciation and value for the workers employed to do the role.

“My uncles always tell us that we didn’t come in the business because we are their children, but because of the passion we had in the business. With that, entitlement is killed and we ensure that we do our best to take the farm to higher levels,” says Gitau

They don’t entertain gossip,  ‘‘ but if someone has an issue, I then the person is invited ‘ to a meeting where one is confronted and told in love where they have missed the mark.


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VIDEO: Inspiring Journey Taking Shape at Kiambu’s Top Gated Community



Amani Ridge the Place of Peace was extremely busy today as the Engineers set their focus on achieving the very best in preparing the roads to murrum standard, ready for cabro when time comes.

The following activities will follow:

1. Storm water drainage

2. Piping water along the main lines (those building will only need to pay for water meter)

3. Underground power will follow

4. Installation of solar street lights will be the next step

5. After this, planting of 2, 000 trees will follow along all the roads in the estate

6. The sewerage systems will be replaced by Water recycling technology as initially promised

We are committed to #GoingGreen

Become part of the Amani Ridge family today


Call: 0790 300 300 | 0723 400 500


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Big Smiles on the way for Garden of Joy Owners



A big announcement concerning the Garden of Joy gated community is set to be made this coming Friday, 23rd October 2020.

The planned announcement will be a cause of great joy for clients who have already made a decision to make the Garden of Joy their joyous home.

Those joining the success train later, will pay slightly higher for this property. We call it the ‘waiting-to-see-expense.’

If you are reading this message, go ahead and call your relationship advisor today to save the waiting cost and to become part of the joyous brigade.

Check us on FB Live on the 23rd October at 4PM as we unveil the greatest news at the Garden of Joy.

Secure your jewel today
Call us on: 0790300300 | 0723400500

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2020 Calendar

October 2020


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