At some point during our last few days of haze the truth about business smacked us in the face…I was blown back and Kreeeese was “stunned” as a deer in headlights. There are lots of people here who have fun with the intimate understanding that business is the way in life – so you better love what your doing and makin’ people happy doin’ it! Everywhere I turn there are people who are so inspired with hope and uplifting ideas. In Kenya, to be self-employed means to provide for your family, and provide for the community that you live in.
This begs to wonder…does Canada do it for the love, not the money? As Entrepreneurs, as we always providing for the community that we live in?
Not to say that Canada doesn’t support their entrepreneurs, please don’t get me wrong. It’s just…sometimes lately, in the run of a day we can get caught up in how fast our turnover rates are, or what the ‘exit’ strategy looks like far beyond our calculation. Here in Kenya, Entrepreneurship means a sense of hope, a sense of joy, and a sense of community that everyone will benefit from – with long distance businesses in mind. These are businesses that will sustain itself through time because it is built brick by brick, shilling by shilling, with the intention to provide for the Entrepreneur, their families, and their community as a whole.
MR. 600 or “Otieno”, a Luo tribe name meaning “man of the night” -as he is known know – was in full force this weekend back at Galileo. We tackled the Brew Bistro first, pounding back another round of delightful sheesha on the dance floor. I must say…Hot Sauce took a vacation this weekend and a good old Dorrow was back in town. Still sweaty and full of energy, I had my usual French Canadian glisten as usual. We stomped around and had a great time, all in good fun of course. Sunday Funday was filled with a baby elephant show at the orphanage – upon which we witnessed an old man get massively trunk blasted with water in the face for patting the elephant violently on the head (dumbass), followed by a 13yr old kid passing out right on our feet. Wow…ok…on to the next show. We ended up at a frigen Giraffe center where the giraffes basically molested your face with a “kiss” just so they could get a hand of fake ass Captain Crunch pellets. Their tongues are huge black thick yoga mats that stick to anything in sight, and are the cleanest tongues in the world because they eat burs all day which causes them to have a massive anti biotic reacting agency. WTF.
The other day we started our teaching in Mathare, a ‘pressured community’ in the north East part of Nairobi. It’s basically like the East Side of any major city, or country that I’ve ever lived in. Where things are a little more hard to come by, a little more rough around the edges and a little more ‘real life’ in a good way. The first day was admittedly a little awkward, then after a few jokes and intro’s we were off on a good foot. There were a few students – of whom we won’t share any names – that didn’t have a business idea and needed a little inspiration, so Kreese decided to break out into a little ‘Design Thinking’ session.
As you may or may not be able to see in the accompanied picture there were two tools used to generate a couple of creative ideas. The first, which included the classic “think of a business, then an object in that business, what does that object make you think of, where else can we use that in business, what other businesses does that create, and what common elements do all of those last questions have in common”? Follow me?
Well, these commonalities ended up being a dog breeding business that spawned a discussion on hoe many words can we think of with the letters “D – O – G – S”. Once we gathered about five or six words for each, we tried to list a business that started with each one. The list included, but not limited to:
- Wheel cart / Rickshaw repair shop
- Water distribution
- Youth care and library
- Senor / youth care combination
- Diaper collector / recycling
- Towel makers, sewers and laundry
- Cereal and vegetable shop
- Barbor / hairdresser, manicures & massages
- Dog Breeder
- Non-Alchoholic bar for youth
Regardless of what businesses came up, one common theme pervaled – everyone was trying to start a business they loved, and money would always follow.