MYC4 and Micro Kenya’s Kawangware branch manager Jobes went to visit Raphael Sila Mathuva at his work station at Kirigu police post, Kawangware. Raphael is a MYC4 borrower and a man of many coats. He belongs to the Old mutual group to which he is the chair person. He started his business in 2002 as a bicycle repairer from capital he had raised. By then, bicycles were a very popular mode of transportation in Kirigu. In the current past, he has seen this change and hence there has not been a lot of repair business which has seen him venture into motorcycle business as well. He repairs the motorcycles which he says is a bit complex as compared to the repair of bicycles. This made him further his education so as to have the knowledge especially on the motorcycles’ engine so as to be able to do the correct kind of repair for the different kinds of motorcycles engines that come to his work station. He has two young men who help him at his work station.
His other businesses
Raphael also has a transportation business. He has bought a total of 11 motorcycles and rents them out on a daily basis to the youths in his area who in turn conduct business and pay him a total of KES 500 (€4.6) a day per motorcycle. This has seen him be source of empowerment to the youth by offering job opportunity. Raphael deals in Boxer and TVS companies motorcycles, and when we ask him why he uses this Indian motorcycle as opposed to others in the market he informs us that these makes are affordable and low maintenance and also that fuel consumption is manageable.
This business has enabled him to venture into yet another business of selling motorcycles in Kirigo. He buys the motorcycles from dealers in the city and sells them to the locals, especially the youth who in turn earn a living and shy away from criminal activities. Raphael had at one time opened a grocery shop just near his repair business and his wife was in charge. This was however closed due to low business. These businesses have enabled him take care of his family, however a month before and after the election business was rather slow because of the uncertainty that came with the election.
What of tomorrow?
Raphael took a loan of 740 Euros and the aim was to buy additional stock for spare parts for the business so as to facilitate his repair of motorcycle and bicycles which he did as was evident, his business was doing well and he had also invested in his transport business. He plans to expand his business in the future by renovating and expanding his work station as well as buying more motorcycles for rent and sale. When we ask him whether he would stop doing bicycle repair now that the motorcycle business is doing well, this is what he had to say:-
“I will always be of service to the bicycle customers because that is how I started and I am proud of my humble beginning as it reminds me to always be a hard worker. One never forgets where they came from, hence I will always offer my services to the people owning bicycles however few they are.
Raphael is a father of 3 children, as young as he looks he tells us he has a son in secondary school. This business has enabled him to educate his children who are in private schools. He believes education is key to their success. His youngest child is 3 years old and we found him at the working station together with his wife who comes to help him with the sale of spare parts in the shop that is adjacent to the working station. The business has also enabled him to buy land, and in the future he intends to put up a family house so as to cut down the cost of renting and enable his family have a permanent place to stay hence security. He is confident that his businesses will enable him achieve this and much more.