Walking along Hospital Road in Kisii town, you are bound to come across 37-year-old Charles Mogembo busy at work polishing and repairing shoes.
The father of five from Kiong’anyo village near Kisii town says he was unable to proceed to secondary school and to make ends meet, he took on small scale farming.
After four years of doing this, he moved to Kisii town and started the shoe shining business.
“I had Sh500 as my start-up capital and I used this amount to buy shoe brushes, soap, shoe polish, repair tools and thread.
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I then looked for a strategic location, where I was assured of a steady flow of customers, and set up here,” he says.
Mogembo says he makes at least Sh300 per day which goes up to Sh500 during the rainy season when demand for his services is high.
“I have to budget very well with the little money I get and ensure that my family’s basic needs are catered for,” he says.
Mogembo says he has done this work for the past 18 years and credits his longevity in this trade to the fact that he serves his clients well and is courteous.
“Over the years, I have attracted regular clients who keep coming back and in serving them, I am able to put food on the table for my family,” he says.
He says his greatest challenge in doing this work has been the way he is exposed to the vagaries of weather.
He has to contend with strong winds, heavy rains and dry seasons when the sun beats relentlessly on his back.