Mwenda Thuranira: From Working As A Dishwasher, Baggage Carrier In The US To Founding Multimillion Real Estate Firm

Mwenda Thuranira is the Chairman of My Space Property, a real estate and property firm offering residential real estate for sale and lease.

The realtor attributes his financial discipline to his grandfather who was a reputable businessman in Isiolo.

In a past interview, Mwenda reflected on his journey to success which saw him work at a construction site and as a dishwasher in the US.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Mwenda grew up in Isiolo and Meru counties.

Growing up, he was an ambitious kid and wanted to make it in life, get out of the village and do great things for himself.

In an interview with KTN, he mentioned that he realized his interest in real estate at a tender age and liked creating things.

“…when you see someone building something nice that changes the atmosphere, and brings opportunities in your area, it’s something that stimulates my mind

“I even found myself in construction sites as young as 7 years old. My father was into building and construction and I’d follow him to see how he does things,” he explained.

Mwenda also disclosed that he was so good at constructing rabbit hutches that his neighbours would pay him for the same.

“…constructing rabbit hutches was a pastime for small boys in rural areas. People would come to our home and be amazed at the way I built them

“They would request that I make some for them at a small fee, say Ksh 100 or Ksh 200. I was that primary school kid who was earning his own money,” he recalled.

At the same time, Mwenda was close with his grandfather who was a well-respected businessman in Isiolo town.

“I credit my grandfather with instilling a sense of financial discipline from that early age. He was a serious businessman who built up Isiolo Town with a few others back then,” he said.

At 14, Mwenda also kept chicken which he would later supply to different hotels In Isiolo and Meru counties.

Following the completion of his secondary school education, he was invited to Utalii College, Nairobi University and George Washington University in Georgia, USA.

“My father looked at all three letters and chose Utalii, the institution where learning was almost free. But Utalii was off my radar since I had no interest in the hospitality industry. That was why I had hoped to pursue business administration,” Mwenda said.

He eventually joined Utalii College and studied travel operations.

“It was very good. One of the things I learnt at Utalii was courtesy and being nice to people. I appreciated that and I apply it now in my businesses,” he said.

Following his graduation from Utalii College, he landed an internship opportunity with Air France as a customer service agent.

“During my internship, I worked hard that they did not let me go once I was done with the internship; they gave me a job immediately,” he shared.

However, Mwenda lost his job around one year later after the airline company closed down passengers operations.

He had dreams of becoming a pilot and it was then when he set off to the United States (US) and enrolled at Orlando Flying School.

“After six months of doing that, I got bored… I always had a passion in real estate and after a while, I found myself in real estate although I started off as a construction worker,” he said.

At some point, Mwenda had to work as a dishwasher in a seafood restaurant in the US to earn some money to sustain him.

He also worked as a baggage carrier in tourist hotels in Florida.

“When you create a good relationship with them, they’ll call you whenever they need anything; if they want to go to a restaurant or club, they’ll look for you,” Mwenda stated.

After doing all kinds of odd jobs that also included being a petrol station attendant, he finally went into real estate and landed a job as a construction worker.

Mwenda later enrolled for a course in real estate, after which he was given a certification after completion.

He also spoke on his first ever gig in the US.

“While in America, I came across a rundown house that I wanted to buy, renovate and sell for a profit. The house cost Ksh 2 million and I only had Ksh 200,000 to my name. The bank took the 10 per cent deposit and agreed to give me the money

“A quotation for renovation came to Ksh 800,000, again money I didn’t have. My boss, who was in real estate, agreed to renovate the house at a fee. I sold the house for Ksh 4.2 million. I was now in real estate,” Mwenda shared.

Mwenda started investing in Kenya in 2008 following the early signs of the US recession.

“I had two options: to change jobs, which meant quitting real estate, or to come back home. I came back home

“True, I lost some money when things went south in America. But nonetheless, it was a good choice to invest in two markets for security,” he said.

On coming back to Kenya, he invested in Nairobi, Mombasa and Meru.