Pray, what would make a gorgeous, high-flying woman who has the world at her feet to leave a posh and fulfilling marketing job in the bewitching city of Paris to come work in a remote farm in a little known village in Msambweni, Kwale County, where poverty reigns?
That question comes to mind when you spot Venessa Azar in green fields of Moringa Farms easily mingling with workers.
“I am a fashion blogger and marketer and I was working in Paris, but I found a better deal in Kenya - Moringa. I know that sounds crazy, but it was worth it,” Azar, who is of Cameroonian origin, says in her heavy French accent. Before she was employed, Jeanne Margaux, the co-founder of Moringa Farms, spotted her on her Instagram page and noted that she was struggling with acne.
Clear my acne
“Jeanne sent me a message and convinced me that she deals with a product that can clear my acne. At first I was like ‘Oh no, I won’t fall for that gimmick’. But Jeanne was persistent and even sent me a parcel of Moringa all the way to Paris. I said ‘Oh well this lady is so determined, let me just try this thing out. Jeanne also offered me a job at the farm to be its brand ambassador and marketer to ride on my social media presence,” explains Azar.
Within a month of using the Moringa, her skin was flawless. That was it. “Oh my! When I saw the glow on my face, I resigned, packed my bags and took the next flight to Kenya. And here I am and loving it,” says Azar who has a Masters degree in Marketing from a university in Paris.
Evidently, the product has done beautiful wonders for her.
“I am a testimony that this Moringa thing works. I had ugly acne a few years ago, but now look at the glow on my skin. Believe it or not, this is the work of Moringa,” the bubbly Azar says as she shows pictures on her Instagram page before the acne cleared.
In a country where unemployment levels are staggering and where young graduates loath farming so much they would rather be clerks in a blue chip company than work as a manager on a farm, what she did can be seen as suicidal. Wasn’t that too huge a gamble for a foreigner to make in a foreign nation?
“I am a risk taker and a free soul. I love adventure and just jumping into the deep end,” says the 30-year-old.
Farming ventures are still so unattractive to young people in Kenya that the Ministry of Agriculture statistics show that the average age of a farmer in is 58 years.
It is therefore impressive when you bump into an impressionable young woman who has left her flashy world in a developed economy to come and work in a farm and contribute to the country’s food security.
“Young people need to be more daring and look beyond the horizon. If there are no office jobs, think outside the box. You will be surprised your IT skills can come in handy on a farm,” Azar says.
On the farm, while the rest do the hands-on job of tending to the Moringa from the seedlings stage to the final processed product, Azari is the “face and voice of Moringa”.
“My job at the farm is to market Moringa to local and international clients. Next week I will be in Vegas hunting for new clients, I also try to get new local clients,” she tells Smart Harvest.
But much as her role is marketing, she is well versed in matters Moringa from farm to fork.
“As a marketer, I believe that to sell a product authentically, you must know it in and out. I have made a deliberate effort to come to the farm as often as I can to be part of the process. I am involved in this journey from growing of the seedlings, to harvesting and processing. That way I can answer a client’s concerns confidently,” she says.
She now lives and breathes Moringa.