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Why we built and turned our house into a resort

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When architect Dorothy Abonyo’s husband, architect Erastus Abonyo, received a call that the beach plot they had been looking for had been found in Sakwa, Siaya, they were elated.

The land had been standing idle for many years and snubbed by potential buyers because of the many bushes around it, but they saw the potential in it. “When my husband asked us (his family) what we thought about the piece of land, and suggested how we could use it, we were sold out. We loved the scenery and the fact that it was on the shores of Lake Victoria,” narrates Dorothy.

With the go ahead from his family, the land was bought in 2016 and they began clearing the bushes and fixing the road to the land. In 2017, the family comprising of four, all architects, began the process of designing and building their dream house on the land.

“I am an architect with my own practice, Tekto consult, my husband and our first- born child are architects. Our second born is studying interior design and architecture abroad. The house was designed by our first born, Teddy Abonyo, who was then a final year student,” says Dorothy, who has been practicing architecture for about 30 years.

Shared responsibility

To them, building the house was a small project that they felt their son could handle. Dorothy came in to strengthen the design and add a few details and her husband did a lot of work in the initial stages, such as fencing and setting up structures where people could sleep in. Dorothy, who became the senior architect to the project, opted to stay and oversee the process of building the home.

“It was frustrating supervising the project while living in Nairobi where I work. Every time I came to check on the progress of the project, I would find workers have messed things up, which meant we had to start all over again. So I decided to stay and oversee the project by myself and when I took a break, I would close the entire site until I came back,” she narrates.

Low business as a result of the 201 7 elections that year also allowed Dorothy extra time to focus on the project. And in 2018, the three-bedroom house was completed. It was constructed with as much natural materials as they could find in the area.

For instance, the pebbles they used on the exteriors of the house were mostly picked from their land while the rest were harvested from their neighbour’s land. Nyanza being a relatively hot place, the house was designed with thick walls that shield the interior from heat penetration. “When you have thin walls, heat goes in easily. We used cladding, which is attaching a layer of stones outside of a house to safeguard it from the weather effects. With the two thick walls, it will take a long time for the heat to penetrate,” Dorothy explains.

The house was meant to be their retirement home, but they changed their mind after realising that the beauty and the set up spoke more and decided to share it with the public.

“We gave it a second thought and opted not to just have this place to ourselves as our boys were now old. Our second born is out of the country, he may or may not come back and is too old to even want to live with us. The last born too is on his way out meaning that it’s just me and my husband, so we decided to make it a holiday home,” she shares.

Getting into hospitality

That’s how their retirement home became a beautiful resort. Having come from the construction industry, the family knew nothing in hospitality except what they had experienced during their travels. “We have also travelled a bit and in particular, my trip in two cruises one at west Mediterranean cruise with the royal Caribbean for seven days in water really made me learn a bit on hospitality. Though we were over 5,000 guests, the staff took care of us as if we were five guests and there was no one time that we went to the restaurant and missed food. Their service, unlike other hotels I had been to, was superb,” she recalls.

Having unanimously decided that their home would be turned into a resort, the family came together to name it. Dorothy’s choice, Pi Kidi, won. Pi means water in the Luo, while Kidi meant the stones. The area too was green and lush, so it also functions as a garden resort.

“Not many people were comfortable with the fact that you can share your home with strangers, but it’s a new trend, they have eventually gotten used to it. The boys then came up with the idea of putting up tents saying that their age mates would fancy that. So we set up a campsite that’s pretty formal, but we are also thinking of opening up the bush for people who are more adventurous and just want to camp by the water or in the bush,” Dorothy adds.

By PD.co.ke


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KQ resumes direct flights to New York

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The national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) resumed its direct flights between Nairobi and New York on Sunday.

In a tweet, KQ announced the move and topped it up with an offer to passengers who book their flights before December 10 that they will enjoy discounted prices.

Welcome back to the Big Apple! Today we resume our service between Nairobi and New York, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board. Book your ticket via https://t.co/hitS3Whxtp before December 10th to enjoy discounted rates ✈️🌎 *Disclaimer – video from our pre-COVID archives pic.twitter.com/1kET4h0kRK

— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) November 29, 2020

“Welcome back to the Big Apple! Today we resume our service between Nairobi and New York, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board,” the airline said.

The national carrier last operated the passenger flights using the Nairobi-New York route in April after disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

KQ resumed international flights in August after suspending all its operations in March following the government’s directives after the firsts case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Kenya.

On Saturday, October 31, KQ announced that it had postponed New York flights’ resumption.

Through a notice, the airline said the decision to postpone the flights was informed by the increased cancellation of flight bookings to New York.

“We regret to announce that due to increased cancellations of flight bookings to New York City, we have pushed back the resumption of our service to this destination to November 29. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” read the statement then.

Kenya Airways inaugurated direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to the US by 15 hours and by October 2019 KQ had flown at least 105,084 passengers after completing 594 flights to and from New York.

by NN


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Bodaboda chama grows into a multi-million shilling housing cooperative

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A journey of a thousand many miles starts with a single step. A Nakuru-based bodaboda operator’s self-help group proved this in its growth. Driven by the ambition to have something to take home once they couldn’t ride any more, ten bodaboda operators from Barut, Nakuru West in 2015 formed Kianjahi Group, pooling a minimum savings of Sh100 per week per person.

“Being a bodaboda operator is a risky job and has serious effect on one’s health especially if you don’t dress properly for the cold. After attending a seminar in Machakos we decided to start making savings,” said Benson Sigei, the group chairperson.

The group grew as more members joined in 2016. After evaluating their progress, the members increased their weekly savings to Sh200 and eventually to Sh1,000.

“Before the year ended we were nearly 100 members. Our savings were growing and we had to come up with plans which some members considered as too ambitious and pulled out,” says Sigei. With savings of nearly Sh2 million, they bought a 1.6-acre piece of land which was previously a sand quarry.

“It cost us Sh2.1 million in buying the land and rehabilitating it to usable standards. We embarked on making savings for constructing houses which would be of similar design,” he said.

To make this possible they converted the group into Kianjahi Housing Cooperative Society Limited and introduced Sh15,100 registration fee and minimum share capital of Sh60,000 payable in Sh500 weekly instalments.

AmpThe group started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model.

“Every member now contributes a minimum of Sh1,500 for savings every week. Those yet to clear their share capital make an additional payment of Sh500. This amount does not exert great pressure on the riders since the majority make nearly KShs1,000 per day.

The group then started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model where four houses sit on every 50 by 100 feet plot. The cooperative completed the construction of the first 50 units majority of which have already been occupied.

“We took a Sh15 million loan and in addition to our savings we bought an additional acre of land at Sh2.1 million. In the first phase, we have constructed 52 housing units. 35 members have already moved in,” said the vice-chairman.

The cooperative has bought a third parcel of land on which they intend to set up houses for all members. Members who moved in during the first phase like pay Sh2,000 per month. Sh200 goes to savings and Sh1,800 going towards offsetting the cost of construction. The payment for the houses is spread over seven years.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Enough is Enough: Kenyan man in US relocates to motherland to become a farmer

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In a bold move and which took great courage, a former Kenyan Diaspora man Kunga Kihokia who was born and raised in Miami Florida has moved back to Kenya, bought a 20 acres piece of land and established an organic farm in Murang’a.

Initially, Kunga had planned to be in Kenya for three weeks 5 years ago but after what he says was the realization of the problems affecting Kenyans because of western lifestyle which he himself was struggling with, he felt strongly to start an organic farm to address those problems.

Kunga has built a water tower to use gravity that allows the water to get pumped and distributed  through  irrigation into the field. Everything in the farm is powered by solar energy and he has dug a borehole that supplies enough water for the farm. Watch the video, be inspired  and enjoy.

Source: Diasporamessenger.com


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