Typical of hard times, many of us resign to our fate and try as we may, find it hard to get up and try something utterly different to survive. That is not the case for our students here at Nairobits. The word to describe the spirit shown across would be ‘resilient’, hard times are just what you make of them. Case in point, David Buluma.
David is a Media Lab student at Nairobits living in Kibera, so close to graduation, yet with the restrictions on movement and gatherings, so far away.
When the government declared strict measures to combat COVID-19, David, like most of us, hoped it was a fluke and chalked it down to be a one month issue. He used this one month to practice his design skills as he waited for things to go back to normal. But after the first month, it became evident that this was going to take a lot longer. He lives alone and hence he knew he had to take matters into his hands. He loves Design but he couldn’t do Design if he lacked basic necessities. So what did he choose to do? Juakali. That, of course, is a wide term referencing the informal sector of entrepreneurs, known to create or do almost anything on demand. But in David’s case, Car buffing was his weapon of choice. Armed with skills he had gained way before Nairobits, he approached one of his former colleagues and as luck was on his side, began working on this hustle.
Theirs is a mobile gig. If one of their clients requires their services to say in Westlands, they will deliver their services there. Despite the strict, now slowly loosening, measures by the government, David says that business isn’t that bad for them. It could be better though.
For David, Design at Nairobits is his long-game. He weighed the pros against the cons and came to this decision early last year. But with COVID-19, he knows that survival is key and that’s why for him Juakali is what will keep him afloat during this period.