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Unpredictable jobs forced her to be creative

By BENJAMIN OBEGI | Jul 30th 2014 | 2 min read
By BENJAMIN OBEGI | July 30th 2014

Every day, Mary Akinyi, 34, from Kariadudu slums in Ruaraka wakes up at 5am to do what has earned her a living for the last four years; making chapati.

Mary has mastered her schedule and math. With 4kg of baking flour, 500g of cooking fat and a tin of charcoal, Mary sets out to earn her daily bread and possibly keep something for a rainy day. Her daily input costs her Sh440 but by 10am she recovers her investment plus a Sh300 profit.

“After looking for a job at the nearby factories, I realised that I can do something instead of idling at the gates. I came from the village and I really wanted to have something for my daughter in Standard Two. I took notice of the women who cook and supply food in the industries. They were making something at the end of the day as others stood outside the factories looking for jobs.

To avoid the cost of transport, I decided to try my business outside my house,” she says. By 6am, her furnace is roaring and churning out chapatis for the streaming customers.

“This is my life. I come from a poor family and sometimes my ailing father calls for assistance. All my bills are settled through this small business. I am simply happy that I have my own business and able to secure my daily meal,’’ says Akinyi.

Over the years, Akinyi has learned a few tricks that keep her afloat.

“I ensure that I keep something each day. These savings help me remain in business even when times are hard. The savings also go into building my dream of owning a motorcycle. My aim is to have a bright financial future. I also joined two women groups that have enabled me own household items,” she says.

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