There are 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes…a year equal to all that live but what exactly do you do with your time? How much time are you wasting down in failing to explore your full potential because you choose to feel you have reasons to excuse yourself?
Monica Waithira’s story is that of a woman who has plenty of reasons to sit back and relax with contentment, but she has chosen not to by exploring her potential and making a difference not only for herself and her family but for her community as well.
Monica smiles knowingly as we approach her stand at the Laikipia Innovation fair 2019 held at the Nyahururu stadium in Laikipia County, it’s a smile that makes us stop and engage her further. Her personality makes everything seem possible as it exudes a natural fighting spirit that we get to understand upon interaction prompting us to interview her and share with you in this inspiring story that is bound to leave you feeling challenged.
Who is Monica?
“I’m an artist and I enjoy creating decor that brightens up spaces while nurturing the environment,” Monica says adding that it’s in that passion that she opened up her company MO’ ART & CRAFT.
“I’m also a civil servant working with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination, currently on leave to participate in this fair,” Monica says.
A wife and mother of three children; Ryan who is eight years old, Fadhili who is six years and Amani who is one and a half years, Monica does not remember to even share with us that her firstborn child Ryan has a condition that ranges from Dyslexia to Autism. Monica only mentions the condition of her son at the very end of the interview and as a by-the-way. At 30 years of age, Monica has it all figured out.
Monica’s Failed Business and 5 Years of Job Hunt
“After Secondary school, I enrolled for my diploma in cosmetology, after which I opened a salon through the support of my spouse, the salon business barely lasted a year before crumbling,” Monica says adding that beauty business was not her calling.
“After a failed salon business, I thought to try employment which assured me of a salary so I began the long tarmacking journey that would see me visit the District Commissioner’s (DC) notice board weekly to search for openings,” Monica says.
It took Monica five years of disappointing trips to the DC’s office notice board to get a job during which she engaged in menial jobs.
“There was an advertisement of twelve clerical officers which I applied and got shortlisted upon application which was followed by a successful interview in July 2016, I was a civil servant!” an excited Monica reveals.
With permanent employment, Monica could now focus her energy on work she sought for half a decade.
Passion made me an entrepreneur
“Art never left my heart since I was a small child, at times I was considered destructive in my experimenting but I just could not stop myself,” Monica says of the passion that would have her watching creative DIY videos as a hobby.
It is while watching the DIY videos that Monica found a video on how to create flower pots, her first attempts failed prompting her to research on her own procedures which brought her to perfection.
“As an artist, I was excited with the new idea and immediately bought the products I needed to begin which were cement, second-hand towels, and tins,” Monica says.
“The DIY video gave me the idea of using towels and cement to create flower pots, I expounded to candle holders and interior decoration which birthed Mo’ Art & CRAFT company”, an excited Monica shares.
Monica Establishes Baraka Eagles to uplift Widows
“Mo’ Art & CRAFT is now two months old and is greatly impacting widows in my community as I have started a widows training session which we registered as a self-help group called Baraka Eagles Self-help group,” she said adding that she meets the 15 members every Thursday.
“I am not a widow but my mother is and I can relate to the struggles they go through especially the loneliness and difficulty to make a living,” Monica speaks of what inspired her to begin the widows’ self-help group.
“Kenyans need to appreciate hand-made and local products, our cement flower pots, candle holders and interior decoration can be incorporated in hotels, offices, homes and even events,” Monica informs.
“Mo’ ARTS & CRAFT has a shop outlet at Ol-pejeta where all the products are put on display for sale,” Monica adds.
“I invested 100,000 shillings into Mo’ ART &CRAFT and have so far sold 40 pots, the biggest goes for 2500 shillings while the smallest sells at 350 shillings only, I have recovered 80,000 shillings from the investment as per now,” says Monica.
“The rate of unemployment in Kenya has always been a cause of concern; there are so many opportunities in recycling and conserving the environment, the youth should also consider looking in that direction,” Monica explains.
“Most people use the internet in ways that do not help them better themselves in any way, there is so much content that would enhance one’s creative ability,” Monica says.
Her story comes at a time when a majority of internet users spend long hours following celebrities online and struggling to keep up with the lifestyles which slowly drive them into depression.
On asking what advice she has to Kenyan youths, she puts it straight and simple “turn those megabytes and free Wi-Fi into sense”.
Monica can be reached online on Facebook as Monica Waithira and Instagram as Monica-Waithira