By Prudence Minayo
Dozens of people leave their villages for the capital city Nairobi hoping to make a fortune. While some fulfil their dreams, many end up more destitute than they first arrived not knowing that perhaps their gold mine lies in the villages they left behind. Nairobi is a concrete jungle as Rodrick Oware discovered. Born and brought up in the capital, his life was miserable. For years, he labored tirelessly but still lived in abject poverty. His future looked bleak and not once did he imagine, he would become a rich man.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
DON'T MISS: Stay informed with the latest news and interact with us on Instagram.
In 2012, he was done with the city, choosing to go to his rural home in Ebusiekwe, Vihiga county. Upon his arrival, things were very difficult. He was poor and had nothing significant to his name. The villagers saw a hopeless man without a future. His poverty status rivalled that of street families.
According to Rodrick Oware, the villagers paid no attention to a broke man who couldn’t afford to spend money on drinks and cigarettes. Knowing that idleness was a mother to all sorts of evils, he began looking for something to do.
His light bulb moment came through seedlings. He started nurseries for various seedlings, with a focus on cayaba, cypress, blue gum and grevillea. At the beginning of his business, he was all alone. He says there was no one to send or talk to. It was just him and God. Some passers-by would talk ill about his hustles that he remained unbothered. Things were tough at the beginning but he pressed on and began reaping the rewards.
JOIN US: Stay informed with the latest Kenyan news and join the conversation on Telegram.
With the income from these seedlings, he opened a soft drinks kiosk. He knew, compared to alcoholics, soft drinks could be consumed by anyone. Plus, his nursery was on a valley and at times people would get thirsty going over there. This business grew into an eatery. At first he didn’t even know if people would eat there but he took the risk. This paid off and he expanded it.
The eatery grew into a hotel and locals began to seek employment. The business had become too big and busy for him to run it alone, hence, he needed workers. The Roddy Ecosystem Hotel soon became a popular sport including among long distance travellers.
It is this hotel that would grow to become Roddy’s Green Lounge Resort along the Kisumu-Busia highway. The resort is doing well and in 2020 he said they were seeking to target the Vihiga county government. He believes the county government can be very instrumental in ensuring growth of the business and providing jobs for many youths. The businessman believes that if the government and private sector work together, the youths have a chance at improving their lives. If this happens, then economic stability will become a reality. One of the major problems facing the hospitality industry, he said were capital flights and the delay of the county government to pay for services rendered.
Apart from the resort, Rodrick Oware is also a bamboo farmer. This is a type of grass that can act as animal feeds, prevent erosion of soil and can be used in building and craft. The 57-year-old believes that this is one of the best plants in the world when it comes to environmental conservation.
The resort owner says the world has changed. It is no longer a gurantee that one will attend university and get a job afterwards. He also believes that running to Nairobi is not a gurantee for a bright future.
“For those running to Nairobi and your fortune is not there, please try other activities in the rural set-up. You might create employment for many in this rural area,” said Oware.