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Meet the man who makes a living from slaying insects

By Geoffrey Arich | January 14th 2015

KISUMU: He left his rural Kisii home for the lakeside city of Kisumu to eke out a living. Gerald Nyakundi, a father of three, started out as a water vendor 15 years ago. However, water sector reforms soon made water available in households, rendering him jobless. Unperturbed because he was saving, Nyakundi set up a retail shop. Early last year, his shop was demolished to give way for the expansion of the Kisumu-Nairobi road. Nyakundi didn’t call it quits. Earlier, he had learnt from a friend how to mix chemicals to fight bedbugs in homes.

“When I was in my kiosk, several customers asked me whether I sold the insecticide for bedbugs. I knew that bedbugs were an issue in most homes and I capitalised on that,” he says. After acquiring all the necessary equipment - gas mask, knapsack sprayer and safety gloves - he started marketing his services door-to-door. Nyakundi’s day starts at 4am by mixing chemicals. His charges depend on the size of the room, with the minimum being Sh500. On a good day, he earns about Sh2,000 and can earn upto Sh60,000 per month.

Being the only person in that kind of business in Kisumu, Nyakundi is a busy man.

“Everybody wants a peaceful night’s rest and bedbugs can deprive you of sleep,” he says, adding that he sprays a minimum of four homes per day. He plans to be an insect killing specialist in homes across the county.

He has settled on the land he bought in Kisumu and only goes back to his rural home for visits.

He says he does not mind the funny names he has been given because of his work.

And in the neighbouring Kakamega County a nine-year-old boy is also changing the fortunes of his family.

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