The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Networking’

WHY I WEPT ON MY 2015 BIRTHDAY

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Courage is an Attitude

I had just come from Nairobi Garage where I had hosted an early-morning speed networking event for young Nairobi entrepreneurs. It was the very last event. I could not afford to produce another one. So I had a little cupcake and coffee party to thank my guests, and to encourage them to keep on with their good work. I went home.
 
With my handbag still on my shoulder, I sat on the couch, silent.
With a box of stationery still on my lap, I stared at the feedback forms inside.
Warm tears slowly slithered down my cheeks into the box.
Suddenly, a loud cry burst out of my mouth and echoed into the box.
 
I felt like such a big failure!
A failure to my company. A failure to myself. A failure to my parents who’d invested in my business. A failure to my supporters. A failure to my country.
 
After weeping, I sat on the couch for a while, trying to figure out my next steps. Normally, I would write an evaluation of the event and plan for the next one. Then send a message of thanks to guests, along with a networking tip.
 
But this time round, I had no idea what would be my next step.
I could not afford to pay back the loans from my parents because the banks I had visited didn’t offer loans to young unmarried ladies with small enterprises. I got to understand why there are so many microfinance banks for women in Kenya. Despite modernisation, most banks still see women as high-risk customers.
 
I could not reach out to my mentor because our relationship had been tarnished by his sexual advances. He had been in the process of supporting my application for a grant at an embassy, the accounting firm already set to receive the funds. But when he realised that I stand firm on my principles, he blocked the process and sent me this message: “I can’t be a mentor to a person like you. The people I mentor understand how we work. No wonder your startup is not working!”
 
So I put down the box of stationery, slipped off the couch onto the floor and removed my shoes.
I prayed. I wept. I prayed some more.
 
Exposed and vulnerable is what I felt as a human being. But I did not care at that point. If I were to be broken and all vulnerable, I would rather be so before my God who is also my friend. I asked Jesus to show me that all my effort had not been in vain. I asked for His guidance.
 
A wave of calmness came over me and I found the strength to smile. Suddenly, I noticed the chocolate cupcake that had remained from the party I had with my guests. I grabbed it, took a bite, and told myself: “Happy Birthday Michelle! All will be well.”
 
One birthday later, I am so grateful to have my prayers answered.
My parents chose to look over the loans I owed them, and invested in furthering my education in Social Innovation Management at the Amani Institute. So happy that I’ll be graduating this month. Yay!
 
I found the courage to take a few steps back on the idea I had had to focus on the core, which is positive conversations that inspire positive change. Now, I serve change leaders as a coach through a project that celebrates storytelling for leadership.
 
Despite not having surplus funds at the moment, I have never lacked. Opportunities are showing up along my journey. Not to mention the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and learn from.
 
I’ve got a strong roof over my head, food to put on my table and clothes to keep me warm. Every day, I wake up to new opportunities to serve people by doing what I love.
 
The greatest lesson I have learnt is that…
Failure is a great teacher with an ugly face.
It takes courage to look past the ugly face and see a resource to learn from.
 
Courage is a key word this new year of my life.
 
My hope is that this little story of mine encourages you never to give up on you. And remember…
 
Courage, Prayer & Chocolate cake!
 
Happy Birthday to me

Breakfast Club for coffee-lovers in Nairobi!

Breakfast Club for young coffee-loving Entrepreneurs in Nairobi. / Kahawa Culture 2015.

Breakfast Club for young coffee-loving Entrepreneurs in Nairobi / Kahawa Culture 2015

Are you a young coffee lover in Nairobi looking for a coffee community of fun, like-minded and interesting humans like yourself?

This is your chance to join a new Breakfast Club in town that connects young entrepreneurs through inspiring organic interactions and the love of coffee.

We welcome you to join us for the Kahawa Culture Breakfast Club Launch on 25th March 2015 at Nairobi Garage (Piedmont Plaza, Ngong Rd) from 7am to 8.30am. This is a great opportunity to enrich your networks while enjoying your favourite beverage in the world – coffee!

Only 50 spots are available so be sure to book your Eventbrite ticket then re-confirm your attendance via kahawaculture@gmail.com before your spot is gone.

Food and beverages will be available at the venue.

Note: The event programme will begin at 7am sharp.

Can’t wait to meet you and share a kahawa with you…

People. Coffee. Community.

Coffee Culture in Kenya!

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Kenyan Coffee Berries - AA Arabica

Coffee culture is simply any social atmosphere that heavily depends upon coffee. It goes beyond coffee as a product and uses it as a social lubricant to bring people together for a purpose.

Growing Coffee Culture

In one decade, Kenya has experienced a fast-growing coffee culture as coffee houses like Nairobi Java House, Art Café, Pete’s Cafe & Burrito Haven, Savannah and Dormans continue to provide exceptional coffee experiences at various urban centers in the country, mainly Nairobi.

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Coffee House in Kenya - Pete's Café & Burrito Haven

Truly, we have come from far as a nation because decades ago, one could only experience coffee at high-end hotels like the Sarova Stanley hotel which was an exclusive atmosphere for the wealthy in Kenya. Today, the Kenyan middle class is the popular coffee consumer marking a remarkable market shift!

Celebrating our Own

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Coffee Workshop by Kenyan Coffee Barista - Photo by Ethan Mumo

Today, Kenyans have so many opportunities to learn about coffee better yet, from our very own champion barristers who compete at the global coffee barristers’ competitions. They inspire and edify the public about Kenyan coffee and the great need to celebrate the world-class coffee that our country produces.

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Peter Owiti explains the qualities of Kenyan Dark Roast Coffee Beans. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

One shining example is Peter Owiti (Founder, Pete’s Coffee & Burrito Haven) who is a popular amongst the Nairobi techie community. He is a Seattle-trained coffee barrister who after working at Nairobi Java House and his educational travels in America and Europe chose to further pursue his passion for coffee through entrepreneurship.

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Pete's Café started at iHub

On 26th November 2012, he launched his business as an in-house coffee shop at iHub. His business has since expanded and is also now an in-house coffee shop at the Nairobi Garage and Airtel HQ in Nairobi.

Kahawa Culture Meet-up

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Kahawa Culture Meetup for youth networking

On Saturday 13th December 2014, Pete and I partnered for an event called Kahawa Culture Meet-up where we invited young Nairobians between the ages of 16-35 years for a fun afternoon of positive conversations over coffee at Pete’s coffee shop (at Bishop Magua building). About 25 young middle-class Nairobians got the chance to learn from young Kenyan YouTube personalities about how to share one’s passions and earn money through YouTube channels.

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Ken Mwatha - Kenyan YouTube Personality (IWATCHSTUFF). Photo by Ethan Mumo.

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Oliver Holding - Kenyan YouTube personality (GAMING4KENYA). Photo by Ethan Mumo

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James Karanu - Kenyan YouTube Personality (AXCESS). Photo by Ethan Mumo.

Also, Peter Owiti conducted a mini coffee workshop about the qualities of Kenyan coffee, how to make French Press coffee and how to make excellent coffee at home without using an Espresso machine.

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Mini coffee workshop by Peter Owiti.

Event attendees got the chance to give-back by sending love-filled messages to and making donations of toiletries, colours and colouring books for the kids at the learning centre at the Kenyatta National Hospital Children’s Ward.

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Sending some love to the Kenyatta National Hospital Children's Ward. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

The donations were collected by Colour My World which is a charity initiative that works closely with the kids, accounts for donations and ensure that the donations reach the children.

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Liz Njenga - Founder, Colour My World. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

Speed networking was also a highlight at the event as we witnessed strangers becoming friends. We hope that our next event on January 17th, 2015 will be yet another opportunity to celebrate Kenyan coffee culture through meaningful conversations that inspire patriotism and positive change amongst young people.

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Speed networking at Kahawa Culture Meet-up. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

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Positive conversations over coffee. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

This is the objective of Kahawa Culture, a startup events company that I recently launched to promote positive conversations over coffee in Nairobi.

Kenyan Coffee Facts:

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Expert ranking of coffee growing countries in the world. Photo by Thrillist.

1. Global coffee experts rank Kenya as #2 best coffee growing in the world! Kenya comes in second after Ethiopia. Colombia is ranked #3 coffee growing country in the world.

2. Coffee is mainly grown in Nyeri County in Kenya. The area is mountainous and has got rich volcanic soils.

3. The excellent coffee that Kenya produces is of the AA Arabica coffee variety.

4. Kahawa is the Swahili word for coffee. So when in Kenya…

5. Kenya is one of the countries in the Coffee Bean Belt which runs from Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Java.

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For the love of Kenya Coffee

Contact Info:

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Follow Pete's Cafe & Burrito Haven on Facebook and Twitter (@petescoffee).

Peter Owiti
Pete’s Café & Burrito Haven
Email: pete@petescoffee.co.ke
(Coffee Shops & Setup, Coffee Consulting and Barista Training)

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Ayuma Michelle
Kahawa Culture Ltd.
Email: kahawaculture@gmail.com
YouTube Channel: KAHAWA CULTURE
(Kahawa Culture Meet-ups, partnership opportunities and presentation slots)

Before leaving earth, ensure that you’ve experienced Kenyan coffee! ^_^

Rugby Meets Fashion & Luxury

Yesterday was a fun day!

I coordinated a photo shoot with my good friend, Esther Neema, who’s been polishing her photography skills at the RFUEA Grounds which is a rugby union stadium off Ngong Road.
Fashion and RUGBY??? (I thought)

But Neema sure has an interesting artistic sense so I trusted her with this shoot once more.

We reached the red gate of the venue but I was so afraid of a random rugby ball hitting my little head atop my skinny neck…Haha!

But as soon as I saw the lovely green expanse of the field, it was confirmed that Neema knew what she was doing. It’s beautiful! Perhaps the reason why Peter Abuoga, the Harlequins Club Manager, seemed a bit sentimental about it. He informed us that it’s a rare standard-sized rugby ground in the region.

As soon as our models arrived, the photo and fashion magic began. These are some teaser shots of the fashion shoot!

(For final photos, check “Belle Photography” Facebook Page)

Belle Photography at RFUEA Grounds

Esther Neema of Belle Photography at RFUEA Grounds

Belle Photography at RFUEA Grounds

After the photo shoot I asked Abuoga where the Harlequins fans can hang out as they watch their favourite players in action. He then led us to the Quins Bar & Lounge next to the private Quins Club.

The venue is simply dazzling! It was an initiative of the rugby club to keep their fans at home with the stars. Some of the features include a fully stocked bar with quality brands, a variety of sitting arrangements, a lovely ambiance and decor, a classical-themed lounge with a private smokers area and whats-more a great serving of music entertainment.

So all Harlequins Rugby Club fans have a place to hang-out as they cheer on their favourite team close by!

Take a look…

Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Entrance to the Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Classic themed Lounge area
By Michelle Ayuma

Music Entertainment at Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Bar Area at Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

Great use of space and colour at Quins Bar & Lounge
By Michelle Ayuma

This venue can be a perfect place for a private party and is available for booking. For more information, contact:

Peter Abuoga

Harlequins Club Manager,

Tel: +254 737 242 168

Email: peter.abuoga@kenyaharlequins.com

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