What you need to know:
- Three years ago, Rose, a mother of three, was an alcoholic and could barely take care of her children.
- One day it hit her that if she did not kick her habit, her daughter, then in Class Eight, would not go to high school.
This week I came across a story that inspired me, that of Rose Kones, a businesswoman who comes from Bomet. Three years ago, Rose, a mother of three, was an alcoholic. She could barely take care of her children, in fact, two did not live with her.
The little she made, Sh200 cleaning a lodging and helping out in the kitchen, went towards supporting her habit. And then one day, in a moment of soberness, it hit her that if she did not kick her habit, her daughter, then in Class Eight, would not go to high school. She began to save a bit of the little money she made in earnest, unsure of what to eventually do with her savings.
Having worked in a bar and restaurant, she has observed, countless times, heaps of meat being delivered to the premises daily, and she thought to herself, ‘I can do this too…’
She would go on to buy a goat worth Sh2,800, which she later had slaughtered then sold, piece by piece, making Sh5,000. She used the money to buy another two goats, which she sold, making Sh10,000. The rest, as they say, is history.
Before Covid-19 came about and changed life as we knew it, Rose was selling an average of 80 goats a week, which she supplied to various hotels and restaurants in Bomet town. Currently, she slaughters 40-48 goats a week. What she makes is a far cry from what she used to make at the height of her business, but it cannot compare to the paltry Sh200 she used to make a week.
Story of courage
She works hard for her money, on some days sleeping in a bush or by roadsides, (her words) when she goes in search of stock in remote locations. In such instances, she says, she arms herself with a pocket knife for self-defence, in case of an attack. Hers is a business dominated by men, but she says this doesn’t intimidate her because she can haggle just as effectively as they can.
Reading her story, what stood out for me was her courage. Her courage to try, to give it a shot. Most times, I have realised, drawing from my experience and that of others, many of us fail to reach our potential because we give in to fear. Fear of failing, fear that we won’t perform as well as others. Fear of what ‘people’ will say about us. Fear of stepping out of our comfort zone. Rose simply acknowledged that if others could do that business and be successful, she too could do it. And then she gave it a shot.
I have also realised that hardship, especially that which robs us of our dignity, affects us in two ways – it either robs us of self-esteem such that we stop believing in ourselves and therefore give up and stop trying, or it propels us to do whatever it takes to get ourselves out of the demoralising situation we are in – this was the case with Rose, who is now able to offer herself and her children a comfortable life.
Her story also demonstrated that there is no money that is too little, that you can use whatever you have in hand to grow something bigger, to make your life better. Here’s to the Roses of this world!
The writer is editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation. Email: [email protected] ke.nationmedia.com