Friday, 30 May 2008

A Rare Moment

I have just entered my blog onto the Kenyan Blog ring, and as I have little to do for a while (a rare moment), I decided to look at what others are writing.

Immersed in the thoughts of other bloggers, the dog dragged me back to reality with incessant barking.

Now, the dog is Mum's pet, companion and confidant. It is a rather overfed Norfolk Terrier, short, ginger, hairy, noisy.

I found him standing at the back door, looking through the glass at something and growling. So I let him out, whereupon he raced up the patio to a leaf, barked at it, sniffed it, and strutted back to the door, tail in air, looking very pleased with himself.

I wonder what he would do if there were a real intruder in the garden?

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Twiddling Thumbs

I have made the offer on the cyber café business, which has been accepted. I have sent the money to my man in Kisii. I have sent him an email with lots of instructions. What else can I do?

Now, I just have to sit here and wait for the news that all my instructions have been followed, the money has been paid to the seller of the business, the rent and Internet connection charges have been paid and that everything is on course.

This is not easy, running a Kenyan business from the UK, especially when communications are sporadic. The electricity supply is not very reliable in Kisii. Nor is the Internet connection. The only sure way to communicate is by SMS. UK to Kenya is quite cheap, but the Kenya to UK is not, especially when the sender is earning only a couple of dollars a day.

But I must not let this little venture take over my life. I have other things to do, like planning my "show shamba", that will promote the use of easy-to-use, alternative energy, easy-to-build water purification, etc. While I am at it, I want to try growing some different vegetables on the plot, some to feed the kids, others to see if we can make a bit of money.

Why do I sometimes feel that I am taking on too much? Oh yes, because I am here, not there.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Offer Accepted ...

Soon after my last post, I found an email, sent by my man in Kisii. I almost dared not read it.

After the usual profuse greeting to me and mine, he eventually got around to telling me that my offer had been accepted. As long as I could get the money out to Kisii before the end of the month, the business was mine.

He apologised for the delay in letting me know, but the power had been cut, which got me wondering why I was starting up a reasonably high-tech business in an area where electricity is still a luxury, and therefore not always available.

Oh well, at least the competition has the same problem - yes, there are other cyber cafés in town. In fact the shop next door is a bigger, "better" cyber café. But mine still has its fair share of clients.

And I reckon, at very little cost (and a UK mind-set), we could make ours as attractive as next door. Not that we need to increase our client base by much. We only have 10 PCs and most are occupied for a good part of the day.

All I need to do now is save up my air fare (and some spending money) and get out there!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Another Step Towards Kenya

At 4,500 miles, it would take a while to walk to Kenya. So I have embarked upon another means of getting there and surviving financially when I get there.
My man in Kisii works part-time as the IT engineer for a cyber café in the town. It is not the biggest, or the smartest, or the most used, but it plods along, making a profit.

The owner is having to move to the City due to his work and needed a quick sale. My man heard about this and immediately contacted me.

I started hunting around, collecting pennies from down the back of the sofa, the car centre console, etc. but couldn't quite make the asking price. So I had to go to plan 2 and beg.

The result was that yesterday, I could tell my man in Kisii to make an offer.

I am now sitting here in a very wet UK (the rain is chucking it down with high winds as I type) waiting to be told whether my offer has been accepted.

This is a big step. I would trust my man in Kisii with my life, so having him run a business in my absence isn't an issue.

It is just the act of investing abroad. I have done it before and ended up with a very bloody nose. It is also a step towards setting up my nest in Kenya. I know that once I am settled, there will be no return because of the artificial currrency exchange rate.

The business is small. But it has a lot of potential to grow with a bit of imagination and hard work, and my man in Kisii is not afraid of hard work - he is a Kenyan after all!