An open mind creates room to embrace opportunities!

This year has marked the beginning of the end of flying toilets for the residents of Kiambiu. In our previous post, we discussed the entry of Fresh Life into Kiambiu, its impact, and the opportunities the launch of Fresh Life Toilet has presented to the community. In this post, we highlight our first-ever Sanergy staff member recruited in Kiambiu to serve his community through Fresh Life Toilets.

Business partners Joyce Muthoni and her son Isaac Njoroge outside their premises
Isaac Njoroge and his mother Joyce Muthoni run Sanergy’s waste transfer unit in Kiambiu.

Earlier this year, Isaac Njoroge went home with some good news. He had heard at the chief’s camp that there was a company, Sanergy, in the process of setting up operations in Kiambiu. He wanted his family to make the most of this opportunity, so he applied for the post of waste collection personnel.

Fortunately for Njoroge and his family, he was among five teammates selected in Kiambiu, and Sanergy rented a part of their property to set up the Kiambiu waste transfer station.

Njoroge’s mother, Joyce Muthoni, is proud that her first-born son has dedicated his time to clean up Kiambiu from flying toilets. She is now financially stable and able to support her family’s needs. “Previously, I depended on casual jobs to support my five children; it was tough on the days when I earned nothing,” she recalls. She also worried about her son; despite having completed a certificate course in IT, he was struggling to find a job.

Joyce and Njoroge are now business partners; they ensure that the waste transfer unit, which they are in charge of, is always clean. Working together has strengthened their bond, and they have plans to set up two Fresh Life franchises together. We had a chat with Njoroge about his work.

Isaac Njoroge
Isaac Njoroge has been a crucial part of Sanergy’s success in Kiambiu this year.

Tell us about your passion to clean up your community.

I grew up in Kiambiu, and as far as I can remember, we have never owned a toilet. We often used the neighborhood ones for a fee. At night, for fear of being mugged, we resorted to using nearby bushes, which also served us when we did not have money to pay for toilet services.

Despite the many flying toilets, my siblings and I were lucky and never contracted any serious hygiene-related illnesses – such as cholera – though we frequently had diarrhea.

This year, there has been a visible change in our area; there are very few flying toilets, particularly along pathways. While it may not be the same in the whole of Kiambiu, we are making steps in the right direction.

What is your experience working at Sanergy?

It has been exciting! It is my first job and the beginning of the journey toward achieving my dreams.

What have you learnt working at Sanergy?

My biggest takeaway as a result of working at Sanergy is to never look down upon any job, as it could be the opportunity you have long been waiting for. When I completed my certification in IT, I was looking for white-collar jobs. It wasn’t until I became open-minded about other possible jobs that opportunities such as Sanergy presented themselves.

I have learnt many skills from Sanergy, but the most outstanding ones for me are great customer care and First-Aid skills, which ensure I relate well with Fresh Life Operators and that I am always safe in my line of duty.

Have you encountered any challenges while on duty?

Being a young man and one of the few who has received an education among my peers, they highly discouraged me from joining the Sanergy team. As such, it was difficult to remain motivated for work. In addition, my teammates and I had a rough time maneuvering through Kiambiu to do our work for fear of being harassed by them. Today, the transformation they have seen in my teammates and my family as a result of a steady income flow has changed their perception. Now, they are all looking for an opportunity to work at Sanergy!

Isaac Njoroge with his teammate Richmond Mwangi preparing to go to the field for the day's collection exersice
Isaac Njoroge with his teammate Richmond Mwangi preparing to go to the field for the day’s collection.

What inspires you to work hard?

The fear of poverty and the fulfillment of knowing that I am contributing to the end of flying toilets through Fresh Life Toilets in Kiambiu inspire me to work hard every day. Working at Sanergy, I have a stable income to cater for my basic needs; I even save some extra for a rainy day.

Do you have any advice for your peers and your siblings?

Understanding who you are is very important. It helps you build a vision for your life and ultimately ensures that your hard work pays off.

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I love fashion and I am currently saving to set up a beauty and boutique shop in Nairobi’s city center.

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