“I came to Nairobi in 2007 to do a computer repair course but after finishing training I never got work. My brother gave me sh1000 seed money to start a small mogoka hustle since it was cheap by then. He also took me to the market where he also taught me how to choose good quality. I made a sh1000 profit in that first day. The business has grown steadily over the last six years.
On weekdays like today I usually buy a sh7000 stock which can bring between sh3000 and sh4000 profits. On weekends when most people are relaxing I bring jaba worth sh10000 which brings in the same profit margins. I sell in small quantities ranging from sh30, sh40 and sh50 per package.
Besides Mogoka I also sell the real miraa but it doesn’t move as fast since it’s expensive and its consumers are mostly those with money. Chewing jaba is just a past time like watching movies or taking beer or wine. Those who do it just want to relax and have a good time in the evening or during weekends. Just like there are people who abuse beer there are also those who give ketepa a bad name by misusing it.
The major challenges that I face in this job is constant police harassment, who often demand I give them gokish worth sh100, and the demolition of our kiosks. I usually leave the house at seven in the morning to go to the market where I have to select the best quality mogoka. The best quality usually has medium sized dark green leaves.You must be very keen and experienced to tell the good from the bad quality.
It’s just as tough as telling an original Nokia phone from a fake Chinese one. I start selling at my kiosk at two o’clock in the afternoon up to nine. In a good day I can serve up to 200 people. I also sell groundnuts which are preferred by many in chewing mogoka. In a day I can sell njugu (groundnuts) worth sh2000. This business has enabled me to build some houses back in my rural area in Meru. I have also bought a piece of land in which I have planted miraa. I would like to urge all the young people out there who idle around saying there is no job to get busy and do something. Nairobi is a city of many opportunities and possibilities”
Source – Spirits of Nairobi