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Samuel Ouma : I sharpen knives for a living

By Geoffrey Arich | March 9th 2016
Samuel Ouma

When Samuel Ouma, 48, lost his job after the Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi) factory shut down in 1999, he did not know what to do next.

In his pursuit for survival, Ouma tried his hand on various odd jobs, including selling bread for a reputable bakery.

“I took up different jobs to make ends meet. Some were well-paying while others simply did not work for me,” he says.

Realising that his little savings were getting depleted and desperate to keep afloat, Ouma ventured into the business of sharpening knives and other farm equipment.

The idea to begin this business came about after he witnessed his wife having a difficult time looking for a blacksmith to sharpen her kitchen knives.

It was an attractive concept for him because it did not require a lot of money to start. Using his little acquired mechanical skills, Ouma simply mounted a sharpening stone onto his bicycle and begun offering door-to-door services. He soon perfected his art and was able to grow his client base.

Ouma’s day starts at 6am when he rides to Kibuye Market in Kisumu to offer his service to vegetable vendors after which he visits residential homes in Kisumu.

His business keeps him fully occupied and enables him earn more money than his previous job.

On average, Ouma makes about Sh800 a day which translates to about Sh24,000 a month.

“My main customers are the estate vegetable vendors and I make sure to reach out to these sukuma wiki mamas as well as the butchers,” he says.

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