Having grown up outside of africa, I had a very different view of what africa was or is like. Having witnessed and experienced, how startups engaged with the community and the pivotal role I.T played in establishing a platform for the community to access their services and information, I came back to africa with the view that the communities were like the ones i had spent so much time with. It has truly been a learning curve.
Having traded in working abroad to start my own business in zambia, i have learned more than anyone could teach me about survival, development, growth, self motivation, mentors, true courage, failing forward, being consistent, persevering, self belief, criticism, having a clear non monetary purpose, digging deep to keep moving forward, learning from failure and more. These things they don't teach you at university, college or high school. Would i trade it to go back and work abroad, NEVER. Some one once said "its difficult and dam near impossible to beat an opponent who doesn't give up". I was raised with the ideaology "failure is not an option", so no matter what the challenge is or was, giving up was never an option on the table, you had to find a way or make a way. So the words "where there is a will there is a way" resonated and still do so profoundly in me that what ever the challenge, it can either make you or break you but what ever happens make sure you come out on top.
Africa was truly different and all these profound life lessons i was raised with suddenly were needed for my survival then and now. When i first landed in zambia i was faced with some serious cultural shock. But survival instinct kicked in. If i was going to make it in this country i had to blend in. I had to learn the languages, harness the strong characters of the systems,capitalize on threats, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses. I had to learn to view everything as a blessing. One cannot deny that every thing is a blessing its just matter of what lens you use to analyze and view things and grow and develop from there.
I started to study the communities around me, from habits to problems they experienced and from there i began throwing ideas of solutions to their problems, like pasta to a wall when determining when it is ready, till one idea stuck which was in alignment with some thing i loved.......FOOD!!!! who doesnt love food. it makes us all happy. when you have eaten some thing amazing, you are satisfied, full, eaten some thing new, what ever your fancy, food makes it all a little better. You can work, you can sleep, allot of things becoming possible when you have eaten. How is any of that possible when you spend time in traffic and your time is so limited? i always wondered me who doesnt have ajob yet what more those who do? eating the same food everyday, constantly asking where could you get affordable food with out having to travel so far? What i found most frustrating so not know the price range of a place i was told about only to discover it was over priced or the food quality was just below par by any standard, so
1. you have waisted your time,
2. you may be forced to buy what ever is there or go hungry till later,
3. you have waisted fuel,
4 you could be late getting back to work
5. you may get a stomach bug
6. they may not have change so you are either forced to tip or buy some thing or leave money and come back another day and claim what was left behind and top up to buy some thing else.
7. you may have waisted company resources
The list continues depending on your challenges.Then i experienced the worst thing ever what happens when the kitchens close but im hungry, tired as hell, for those working they are working late, stay far, dont have the time to be cooking when i get home? our cities and lives are slowly becoming fast paced. it was then that i started to deliver food to government drivers, officers etc. I saw it work in the different countries i lived in, but how could i make it work for this community i was in now. how could i mold the service for this community. I began piecing it together. through the deliveries i was making, i saw the problems and created the solutions for an effective and efficient service. I studied the roads, the networks, the traffic times and best routes during peak times. It became an obsession to perfect a delivery. Funny thing is i enjoyed it. Unknowing or knowingly i was creating some thing for my community. I was making deliveries with a borrowed car. 30 to 45 minutes in a car through the same traffic my community complained and complains about. The question now was how do i reduce my costs. sure i was driving a 1.3 litre engine car with great fuel consumption but how could i really save on costs. MOTORBIKES!!! i was slowly starting to bring the idea to life. From then i began to read, study case studies of similar businesses, attend relevant talks, progressive corporate sessions. If i was going to be great at this i had to master every inch of it and build it for my community.