Recipes from Kenya



Posted by Bilha Mutuola, Nakuru, Kenya:

“With this first loan I have bought a cooker and increased my menu , initially I was serving few variety of food , but since now I have some extra cash I will increase the menu to serve more customers..
Many people are going g back to traditional food. I intend to bring a cook from the rural area who will come and train my current cook so that they can start serving more traditional meals.I will keep you posted as I start investing into the business…

Business is such an interesting area , especially if you have the right skills and experience . i have been running this business for the last one year , and i can see myself now taking off. With the help of Zidisha Organization and the good people the lenders; I see my self going well in this business…

Hello friends and lenders. It is yet another day when I need to reflect and also inform you what I have been up to in the business world am undertaking. I have been readjusting the business to reflect on my new theme which is ‘Going back to my roots’. Am rebranding and even changing the name of my business to reflect the above theme. 
I have done the following in order to attract more and even new customers.
1. As I have said I have rebranded my business and even given it a new name,’ African pot’, This is intention , so that my customers can know that the food which is served is based on the African theme. Many people have been keen to try this type of food; the only issue has been where to find it.
2. I was lucky, since I was able to get a cook, who knows a how to cook African dishes. It was not easy, as most of the cooks who can cook Africans dishes are few and very expensive to hire. Indeed this particular cook is a relative of mine, so we have come into some understanding in terms of payment. Payment will be progressive as the business picks up.
3. This has been the most difficult part, getting the right ingredients for the African dishes .it has some time taken us to do some research in order to be able to get the right ingredient s. But again luckily, we have made progress. In Nakuru most hotels, which are small, specializes in fast foods, but I want to go a step further and give the ideal African dishes.
4. Although, my main area is to serve African dishes, am still serving the fast foods to sublimate with the traditional African dishes, since the business has not yet picked.”


Lender Kilmeny comments on Aug 25, 2013:

“Hello from Winnipeg, Canada – I have been enjoying reading about your restaurant plans. So far the only Kenyan food I have tried has been some mandazi that I made myself. There is no where in my city where you can go to eat East African food! I think it is too cold for a lot of people from Kenya to want to live here. Anyway, I liked the mandazi, so I am wondering what I should try making next. Could you suggest a simple dish? Thank-you and I also wanted to add that I think having a relative agree to work for you with progressive wages is brillant planning!”


bilha mutola comments on Aug 29, 2013:

“Hello friend, Kilmeny,
Sorry that i had to delay for few days to communicate to you. I was a bit busy to the extend i was not able to come to the net right away. I do not think, that Canada is so cold for us from East Africa to live . Some time this side of Africa it can become quite cold, though not below 10 degrees C.You sound as if you have been to East Africa , where in particular have you visited ?. Am from Kenya , in a town called Nakuru. It has a population of around half a million people. If you are interested i can send you some pictures of our beautiful birds , animals and people and the environment.
I come from the western part of Kenya, though am running my business in Nakuru. I come from Luhya tribe , whose staple food is ugali and either greens or beef or chicken .Ugali can also be eaten accompanied by friend eggs.
I will teach you how to prepare some ugali and friend egg. 
One, you put water in a pan , if you are alone one or two cups will do , boil it , then add maize flour , at the same time stirring , continue adding the flour until it becomes a bit hard. All this time the cooker should not have very hot flame. Let it burn for a round five minutes until you start smelling some slight burnt flour. Then you are ready to serve. In another pan , put oil , onions , let then fry for one minute , then add tomatoes and any other spicy you like. There after , crush in one or two eggs . Fry for three minutes then you are ready to serve.
This is a simple , easy to make meal , any body can eat . I can give you more menus, if you are interested.
I also would wish to hear from you, especially about your type of foods.
Thanks and may God bless , you. Talk soon, bye”


bilha mutola comments on Aug 30, 2013

“Dear Kilmeny ,
I hope you checked on the menu I send you about an African menu ,the so called ugali and egg menu. There are some few things I forgot to tell you namely ,the ugali can be served either hot or it can be left to cool for few minutes especially if you are serving young ones. Two, some people do spice the ugali so that it tastes a bit different or to make the young ones like it . As you know ,some time if the meal is dull , some kids may not like it to eat. Last but not least about ugali ,is that it can be eaten accompanied by so many other meals. One is not limited on what to eat it with. It all depends on you.
Today I want ,yet to teach you how to cook another traditional meal, how to prepare yams. I hope you there in Canada you can get yams. So get the yams, clean them ,by running a lot of water over them so that soil can be removed from them, peel them and cut them into small pieces. then boil , with little water , do not put a lot of water otherwise they will become soggy , also do not boil them for along time they will also become soggy. After ten minutes remove from the cooker and drain the water .
In another pan , take onions fry them until they turn golden brown while the tomatoes should turn to a paste. Then get the yams and lower them into the mixture and reduce the heat . it should take another ten minutes , then remove from the heat.
They are now ready to be eaten. They can be served with either boiled rice , spaghetti or bread. While some people can eat the yams just like that without any accompaniment . It can be garnished with coriander or parsley.
I hope this menu goes well with you. Am also welcoming others to try the recipe . Bye for now 
Good day.”

How to earn $8.15 per day



“HI lenders,l take this precious moment to greet you all this beautiful morning.l hope you are all doing well as l am with my family and my business.l have done some research and discovered a new business idea of selling sausages and smokies [small smoked sausages eaten as snacks in Kenya].This business is on the rise and its very profitable because there is always ready market. 

l discovered that selling sausages brings in more profit and faster because there are always in packet of sausages while buying from the supermarket is 120 [US $1.50] about and it contains 10 sausages,then one sausage is sold for 25 shillings making 250 shillings [US $3.13], therefore bringing in a profit of 130 shiilings [US $1.63] per packet,one can sell upto 5packets [for a total profit of US $8.15] on a good day.

It only requires a trolly with 2 wheels,in order to move around with it,but if someone is able to locate a place where there are most people,it will be very nice.l realized its a good business to venture in and bring in profit from it so that l can support my family and also grow my other business,if advanced with another loan l will be able to venture in it,Nice times.”

– Posted on August 27, 2013 by Njoki Kimani in Nakuru, Kenya

“The choice to take it or reject it was totally mine.”

“I met with someone this week who told me something that really got me thinking. He said that he envied people like me who are always upbeat and who have no problems in life. He said that life seemed to be imbalanced in how it dished out problems to people. He said that unlucky people like him seemed to have more problems hurled at them than lucky people like me. As I listened it suddenly occurred to him that he might indeed be speaking for many who attribute success or failure to luck. They have reduced life to a game of chance.

As I have said many times, there was a period in my life when I was the perfect picture of an unlucky person. I was so economically challenged that to get 50 shillings [US $0.63] to move from point A to point B in a tuk tuk [a motorbike-powered taxi] was on the same level as getting a flight to the moon – uphill! However, I did not dance to the tune that life was playing me trying to tell me that I was an unlucky person.

The first letter in the alphabet of luck is A for attitude. Even when I was down, I refused to see myself as an unlucky or cursed person but as a blessed person who was being offered a curse by life. The choice to take it or reject it was totally mine. The challenge is that a lot of people have accepted their current condition as a destination and not as a location en route to a greater place.”

– Posted on August 23, 2013 by John Njau in Nakuru, Kenya

A remarkable social entrepreneur


Soni Baidowi is one of our newest members in Indonesia and the first in East Java.  Here is his story:

“My name is Soni Ahmad Baidowi, 26 years old. My family is moslem. I live in a village where moslem and non moslem live harmoniously, called Ranggeh village, regency Gondangwetan, sub-district Pasuruan. I spend my life to teach, building schools for elementary students, junior high scool, high school and expanding my printing business since i was 17 years old until now 26 years old.
I am very happy to see my students succeeding in the future with various knowledge for their advantage when they are looking for jobs. I wish i can create jobs for people around my house so my life can benefit others and so i can be known as a good people until i die…

I have established a Tutoring Institution “DEC” [Daily English Course] in 2009 to provide english teaching, arab, and math to all elementary, junior high, and high school students in the afternoon. DEC is a tutoring institution that runs every afternoon, the place that we use is a building owned by Iwan Hamidi (my brother) by paying Rp 150.000 every month. So DEC is still not yet own its building until now… Every year, the amount of DEC students are increasing. In 2009 we had 45 students, 2011 we had 91 students, 115 students in 2012. This year, “DEC” students totaled 135, and “DEC” has 7 teachers. Very student that studies at “DEC” pays monthly tuition as much as Rp 100.000 (10 dolar more or less)…
I hope that there will be kind lenders that are willing to give me help in a form of loans or grants that i will use to build DEC new decent classroom and to complete DEC facilities…

I always hope that I can create a good relationship with you. Hopefully with all that you entrust to me, Allah will repay to you with a lot more goodness… Me and the big family of DEC… would like to send our gratitude.”

Soni Baidowi raised a first loan of $100 to purchase furniture for his school on August 15, 2013. You may read more at his Zidisha Microfinance profile page.



“A good businessman must have passion”

“Friends… Attitude will certainly determine about 95% of your results. If you have passion in anything you do, most likely the results will be more accurate and successful than in that situation where you indulge in something that you really don’t have passion in. A good businessman must have passion in his business just as a good artist must have passion in art or a great lover must have passion in his woman. We must have the “I CAN” attitude in order to achieve positive results in many of our endeavors so… If you think you CAN… or think you CAN’T… you’re probably right.” 

– Posted on August 15, 2013 by Alex Saruni in Nakuru, Kenya

“We have people who care”


“Greetings,once again, thank you for caring about what i do am very grateful for that. my rabbit are fine, am generally doing good and happy that you send [Zidisha volunteer Client Relationship Manager in Kenya] Naroa to come and visit us this keeps us on toes and we get encouraged that we have people who care, thats the nature of human beings that someone is always around ,at least gets in touch with the people in the ground and that they look forward to see someone,she has come to my project taken some photos which will be put all of you will get to see them and that how am doing.
i once again say that am proud to be associated with you and that we shall work together.more so when you come to Kenya or when you send your people we shall assist where we can.
for now i would like to say thank you very much God bless you and add you more days to continue assisting…

That picture you will see my mam and my two brothers, me and a friend who went to visit her project in the rural area where she has a school assisting the vulnerable the needy students get education,she stays in my brothers house this has encouraged our family and the community at large,my mother is old but light she can move here and there she can do a little work we encourage her to work so that she is active throughout unless she is sick so when i go home i will sit and she will cook for me,she loves cooking for her children though she is old.”

– Posted on August 7, 2013 by Josephine Nyang’au in Ongata Rongai, Kenya



“Zidisha God bless you so much. It is so rare for one to be loaned money and they do not know you. God bless your great hearts and this is why you have been able to get people who you can trust to repay you. with this money I will repair my laptop. May you be blessed again and again.”

– Posted on August 4, 2013 by Sally Ndiri in Nakuru, Kenya


“Making our daughter’s dream come true”



“Hallo my worthy Zidisha friends.It is my privilege once again to communicate to you once again.Back here in Kenya its getting to almost 8pm,GMT,East-African Time.Now we are winding up for today’s work and ready to go back home for a rest.My day was fine and salon was busy.
My family have requested me to send our warmly greetings to all the Zidisha management and to all the lending team,for making our daughter,s dream come true.My daughter have appreciated the Zidisha Microfinance for your support in ensuring that my salon business runs smoothly through your funding and thereafter getting some profit for paying her the school fees.Today they have closed the school ready for this terms holiday which will run until early September 2013.We do really value the Zidisha Organization for the good work and keep it moving and promising.God bless you.”

– Posted on August 1, 2013 by Anne Wambui Njoroge in Mawanga Centre, Kenya

The latest borrower survey results

Our most recent survey targeted borrowers who joined us after the introduction of the Facebook online identity verification requirement for new members.  The purpose was to learn more about how this demographic differs from previously admitted borrowers.

The survey was sent to new members in Indonesia, Kenya and Senegal, the three countries where we recently began requiring applicants to verify their online identity by linking a personal Facebook account.  It consisted of a series of free-response questions.  Here are some highlights:

  • The average monthly household income cited by survey respondents was US $138 (US $1,659 per year).
  • 80% of respondents reported using the internet daily.  The most frequently cited websites visited were Facebook, Yahoo, and local and international news sites.
  • 65% of respondents found Zidisha through the recommendation of a friend or colleague.  The remaining 35% found Zidisha via a web search.
  • When asked the reason for choosing Zidisha over other lending services, the most commonly given reason was the dramatically lower interest rate.  Other frequently cited reasons were Zidisha’s flexibility, simplicity compared with the cumbersome application process and bureaucracy of traditional banks, the elements of trust and human connection, and the lack of collateral requirements.
  • 100% of survey respondents reported that they would recommend Zidisha to others, and many added that they were already actively doing this.
  • When asked what was the most difficult part of the application process, the most frequently cited response was the requirement to obtain the endorsement of other internet-using colleagues.  Other difficulties cited by respondents included technical problems with the Facebook authentication functionality, long response time to customer support emails, difficulties scanning and uploading supporting documents, and having to type 500 characters to complete the “About Me” and “About My Business” sections of the borrower profile.
  • When asked about improvements they would like to see, by far the most frequently cited suggestion was to increase maximum loan sizes, especially for first-time borrowers.  


This advice helped inform the recent decisions to reduce the number of required endorsers for new applicants from five to three, and to introduce a borrower invite feature which increases the maximum loan size of members who demonstrate responsible engagement in our community by inviting new members who maintain good on-time repayment rates.  We will continue to adjust and improve our online lending platform in response to member feedback.

Our sincere thanks once again to all members who took the time to participate in this survey.