Advertisement

STAFFROOM DIARY: Big plans for our roaring, successful baking venture

Sunday May 31 2020
ANDREWPX

My motorcycle was well branded: Drelina Mini Bakeries. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MWALIMU ANDREW

When I started online learning for candidates on WhatsApp, it was under the assumption that schools would be closed for a few more weeks, may be three.

And this is why I managed to get  13 students on my wall, with only one being from Mwisho wa Lami school. Some of the parents, especially those I did not know, agreed to pay, although they were just paying enough to enable me buy bundles.

But as you know, several people have been talking about return to schools but from the look of things, we will stay at home for a long time.

SCHOOLS OPEN

“I now agree with Kizito that schools will reopen in January next year,” said Kuya when we met last week at Hitler’s.” Kizito nodded confidently, reminding everyone to always listen to him.
“Hii Corona bado haijafika Kenya,” he said.

Saphire, while agreeing that schools may not open soon, however, said according to his crystal ball – we did not know what he meant by that – Class Eight and Form Four pupils will be recalled in Third Term to sit their national exams,
“It is impossible that KCPE and KCSE can be cancelled, impossible,” he said.

Advertisement

Kizito told him off. “We have never had corona before, so what’s KCSE and KCPE?” he reminded him that schools are closed world-wide.

I had built my business case around the fact that I was helping candidates prepare for KCPE, but with Kizito sure that there will be no KCPE this year, many students saw no need to continue revising for an exam that will be held in November 2021; and left the group.
This made me idle, especially since I no longer went to school. Fiolina would not allow me. We kept ourselves busy at home. After weeding the crops, Branton and I made the fence, cut down the grass and did every job a man can do in the home. The girls also did everything.
As expected, we soon became idle, and this was a major cause of quarrels between Fiolina and I.  My answer came last Saturday. That morning the girls, Electina and Honda, made some delicious mandazi for breakfast. That gave me an idea.

“I suggest we open a bakery,” I said to Fiolina. “We start with mandazi, chapati, kaimati, and depending on how things go, we could graduate to bread, scones and cake.” I went on: “You and the girls prepare them while Branton and I will sell.”

THREE PACKETS
Fiolina reminded me that we had tried such a business before unsuccessfully. But I reminded her that at the time we were staying at our parents’ home and had to supply to them mandazi daily for free.

That day, I bought three packets of wheat flour, cooking oil and a big karai for cooking mandazi. That evening, Electina and Honda, under the instructions of Fiolina, kneaded the flour, and left it overnight.

They were up at 6a.m. on Sunday, preparing mandazis. The day before, I had talked to several people about our new venture, Drelina Mini Bakeries. Kizito had asked that I supply to him, and so had Lena, Kuya among others.

Branton and I started supplying at exactly 7.15a.m. While Branton took to the nearest homes, using my motorcycle, I took to the far homes, like in Milimani, where most of the teachers reside and where demand for mandazi was high. I also supplied at Apostle Elkana’s home.

My motorcycle was well branded: Drelina Mini Bakeries.
Everyone we took to praised the sweet mandazi, and asked to be supplied the next day. Not everyone paid that day, but what we received was enough to buy enough supplies for the next day.

FIVE PACKETS

And this not forgetting that we had also all eaten to our fill.
I had something to spare to go to Hitler’s that day. But before I did that, I ensured I had bought all that was needed.

That day I bought five packets. The girls did the same thing, and the next Monday, Branton and I did the supplies.

News about our sweet mandazis had spread and demand was so high that unlike the previous day, we did not remain with anything to eat.
That day, I chaired a Drelina Mini Bakeries board meeting where it was agreed that we needed to increase production capacity.

BIGGER KARAI

That afternoon, I went to the market and bought a bigger karai, and other baking paraphernalia as had been listed by Fiolina. She had asked that I give her the money to go buy, but I reminded her that as the acting CEO, I was in charge of purchases.

As expected, our customers started asking for more alternatives: kaimati, chapati, bread, cake among others. By Wednesday, we added chapati and kaimati on the menu. Kaimati proved so popular especially among the children.

We are exploring introducing bread and cake soon and diversifying into other businesses like mask-making; but for the time being, we thank God for the good business. Let the school open mid next year!

Advertisement