Early Morning Jog in Laikipia
We called him the supplier. In the cold open Laikipia plains where a freezing wind straight from the lofty heights of Mt. Kenya blows at leisure in the early mornings, Supplier would have cooked balls of wheat flour (ngumu) ready. We would buy these at 5 Kenyan shillings per piece, having snuck out of school to Supplier’s food shack (Kibanda) in the early morning. If we were successful, we would later sell our goods to fellow students at a flat rate of 15 shillings for 2 ngumus or the alternative members’ rate of 20 shillings for 3 ngumus.
We never got caught, were successful every morning and made a tidy profit from our business. My partners in the fledgling business empire were Mark and my hometown friend Maina. Our young minds were already seeing richness, and Mark who was an artist was drawing up a logo for our branding purposes.
A lazy saturday afternoon
Supplier would have woken up pretty early in the morning to prepare the balls and have them ready for us to buy. Our favorite cover was the few privileged school athletics stars. These athletes were allowed out of school early in the mornings for a jog and speed practice. We left school premises with them, handled our business, and returned with the general lot back into school. Security was generally lax in the hour that we chose as our business hour, and there was movement of people.
Ideas are born out of the blues, and our young minds were full of ideas about how to grow the business. But one such idea brought the Ngumu Business to a screeching halt. It must have been on a lazy Saturday afternoon that the idea was born. We were generally free to do whatever we wanted within school premises on Saturday afternoons. There would be people in the dormitories, others in the playing field, some having their photographs taken, lovers would be hiding in their various spots sharing stolen kisses and possibly a breast was touched once in a while, the bookworms would be in class reading, etc.
On this Saturday, we had a small business meeting for the 3 partners, and later started chatting. While I cannot recall well who brought up this particular idea that am about to tell you about, I clearly remember that we settled into roles for execution quite easily.
Always the strategist, I came up with a foolproof plan pretty soon. Within a week, we were ready to strike our blow and grow our business tremendously while shutting out competitors. We agreed to collect intelligence via casual surveillance and execute our plan on Thursday. This gave us 3 days to fine-tune our plan.
Executing the plan
On the fateful Thursday morning, Mark, Maina and I strolled out casually among the school athletes. We noted the watchman at his usual position near the kitchen, waiting for his large cup of morning tea. We had counted on that. Had anyone bothered to look carefully, he would have noted one athlete carrying a backpack.
We approached the local marketplace with no fanfare. As usual, we broke from the now dispersing group of athletes, since each athlete was doing their own speed while others were clustered in groups. We headed straight to Supplier’s food shack.
Mark took position near the door, pretending to be looking out for any threats, especially teachers-on-duty who would do impromptu operations to nab those who were outside school on non-athletic business. He was also in-charge of operational security, ensuring that nobody else… continue to part 2.
Submitted by Mutahi Muriithi under the My Story Section. Mutahi is a Digital Communications solutions provider in Publicity, Marketing & PR who accepts zero mediocrity. Reach him via Twitter – @MutahiMuriithi
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