A Jolly Fellow

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Godwin Mnjala was born in 1954 as the second born in his family. Growing up in Bura Taita Taveta County, he attended Kenyatta High School Mwatate for his O levels.

Afterwards, he completed a 6 month long Salesmanship course in Mombasa. He shares, ‘I got a casual job as a salesman in a garage in Mombasa. With a meager pay I had to walk 10 kilometres everyday to and from work, often on an empty stomach. Luckily, I found a better job in a hotel in Malindi, Kilifi County as food and beverage waiter, and rose to become the Food and Beverage controller.’

When he retired in 2012, he made the decision to pursue farming. Sadly, a year later he had what he refers to as a “wake up call” when his younger brother passed away. Not only losing a brother, Godwin was also left with the responsibility to care for his brother’s family. He continues, ‘That made it 11 people including my own family and my orphaned niece. As a retired employee, I could not make ends meet, so I decided to take a small loan and started my retail shop business in Maungu, Voi-Subcounty, Taita Taveta County in 2016.’

In describing his shop, Godwin explains, ‘I run a retail shop, where I sell groceries, fruits and vegetables, cereals, and shoes and cutlery, mobile phone airtime. These are day to day consumable items required in the homes daily. I chose this kind of business because it provides necessities for families who live around where my shop is located.’

While this is Godwin’s first year with Zidisha, he’s already off to a great start, raising two loans, the first for $50 and the second for $104. With these two loans, Godwin has been able to stock up on high-demand items for his shop such as, ‘cereals, vegetables, fruits, soaps, detergents, soft drinks, and other food items.

One of the best business decisions that Godwin has made is choosing an excellent location for his shop. He’s located on a main road in a residential area which allows him to receive lot’s of daily foot traffic.

Having his shop has been equally valuable for his customers, as they now have a local shop to buy their daily necessities, rather than having to waste time and money traveling longer distances for these purchases.

Godwin’s monthly operational expenses of rent and utilities add up to around Kes. 10,000 per month. In addition, his cost of purchasing goods and services amounts to Kes. 65,000 monthly and his monthly turnover is around Kes. 100,000 each month.

With his monthly profits Godwin is able to pay a variety of needs for his large family including: family expenses, school fees, medical expenses, and utilities. Then, with any remaining funds he is able to continually re-invest in his business to buy additional stock.

Starting his shop has truly been an inspiration for his family as Godwin says that now his children would like to be businessmen when they grow up. Godwin is a proclaimed, ‘jolly fellow’ and shares, ‘I love to entertain people especially kids who call me “Babuu” (grandfather in Kiswahili) and make them laugh with my unique slogan…jambooo!”

Would you like to make an impact in the life and family of an entrepreneur like Godwin? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other Zidisha business owners all around the world.

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