Kickoff written by K_ranjah

The Picture Perfect Life

How resilient can a community be?

The Ngugi’s left the less noble affairs to their numerous workers, maids and helps and instead chose to spend their entire days and fortunes playing golf in the most expensive Naivasha Golf Club amidst a company of likewise rich friends and their families – doing this as a strategic move to meet business partners and push their business to the right hands – since their first business took off. It was a simple affair at first, without much hope of becoming the business empire it had turned out to be; for their lack of education certificates and credentials and more so, the meagre funds to supply their initial capital, combined with a lack of wisdom in commerce, gave them a humility to start their first venture as a small kiosk in the filthy, yet urbanized estate called Site and Service. But for all they lacked, they had a lot of faith and a lot of zeal to compensate for; they did not compromise on the goal of expanding their small shop into a minimart, neither slacking
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nor slumbering even on a Sunday morning when traffic was low and a lot of people hadn’t woken up that early, so why bother?
The Ngugi’s kept the lights and the counter at their Ngugi Mini Kiosk open at all times of day and even late into the night. Soon, their small kiosk became very notable and permeated deep into the residents daily systems and routines, so that that mother who would wake up to the cries of their baby suffering from an ailment, or pain, or hunger, knew exactly where to rush to at 5 o’clock in the morning for those painkillers, lozenges, or that packet of milk. Likewise, if you arrived from work, or a meeting, or a party, late into the night and all shops are closed, I bet someone would point you to the one place you could comfortably solve all your shopping needs even at such an hour. Ngugi Mini Kiosk.
That was how it was, that is how the small shop became a business to reckon with. Customers came in such great numbers that there arose the need to increase inventory,
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stock and human labour by swelling numbers. That’s how Ngugi Mini Kiosk gave birth to Ngugi Mini Mart in a span of six months, and in yet another two, became a fully-fledged supermarket.
It was a wonder, really, to the owners and the community at large how such a thing could transpire: one day they are opening a shop, the next day it had become a supermarket, their supermarket – and indeed it was – for every member of the community felt proud and somehow connected to this venture. You would hear someone brag they were the first customer; another that they held a shift in the shop when Mrs. Ngugi, god-bless-her-soul, went to give birth (accompanied by her husband); another offered their token of prayer; another was a distinguished regular…
These things were still fresh in their minds, and they never ceased to talk about them. It was as if a charm had been put on them. They all felt that they had somehow contributed to the making of this supermarket; it was theirs.
As a result, it became
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tradition to shop in the Ngugi Supermarket – everyone knew it, everyone respected it – making many other competitors that came and went throw their hands in their air, exclaiming, ‘we have never seen such loyalty…these people and their love for the Ngugi brand, ugh!’
The prices were friendly, the salespersons were pleasant, the place was always open, the customers greeted each other in the alley and laughed together, strangers got introduced to other strangers, and were integrated into the community, hence got the pass to being invited to baby showers, bridal showers, wedding and such community events, such that the Ngugi’s was more than just a place to shop; it was a home experience away from home, a place where people came to socialize, bury quarrels, find tranquil in times of stress. Shopping at the Ngugi supermarket hence became an identity, a way of saying, ‘I belong to, love and support this community.’
That was how it was; even after the supermarket was expanded into a
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