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The fishmonger of Nyamasaria

By Geoffrey Arich | October 12th 2016
Grace Okello at Nyamasaria market. The market  provides a viable spot for all types of businesses and it is for this reason that she opened her fish business there in 2000. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Nyamasaria market in Kisumu County provides a viable spot for all types of businesses and it is for this reason Grace Okello opened her fish business there in 2000.

Before this, Grace was running a grocery business but chose to close it after it started running into losses.

‘Mama Ken’ as she is known at the market, gets to her stall by 8am already armed with fresh stock sourced from Dunga Beach.

“I always report early since I target the lunch hour customers who are bound to come in looking for fresh fish,” she says.

On a good day, Grace makes up to Sh1,500 shillings after deducting all her expenses. This amount falls to Sh1,000 on what she considers a bad business day. All in all, Grace earns better than some in white collar jobs.

Her trade is highly competitive due to the number of traders also engaged in the same business but this does not worry her.

“I have learned to interact with my clients well and this has seen me a realiable, steady customer base,” she says.

Mama Ken works 14 hours a day, six days a week and only takes a break on Sunday so as to join fellow worshipers at Kisumu Pentecostal church.

Despite having the money to spend Mama Ken does not focus on luxury rather ensures she meets her obligations as a mother and guardian.

She is a woman determined to give her four children, and another four she is taking care of, the most powerful weapon: Good quality education.

“My eldest son just finished his P1 training and is waiting for posting, am happy that it is through my business that I have managed  to see him through his teaching course,” she said.

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