Ufanisi Resort in Kisii is a story of hope, a tale of resilience
Patrick Lumumba,the proprietor narrates
“You don’t have to do something egregious or evil to make money, if you’re focused and determined you can create a brand.
Ufanisi as most people know it today was started by me and my wife, Isabel Lumumba .
I come from a humble background.
My mother was selling Changaa and busaa, you ask the villagers they will tell you.
And this is why if someone talks ill of this place the people here will take offence.
It was a really humble beginning for us.
Somewhere along the way i asked myself instead of taking that busaa which we were selling why can i not start a simple eatery here?
I had the land but no money and banks could not help us.
Every bank we visited was asking for a statement and business plan.
We did not have them but we had an idea
With no source of funds we resorted to small credit bureaus in town which gave us a hope.
With their help we set ourselves off never to look back .
At first, it was daunting because it was me and my wife.
Here we juggled as cook, waiter and every other role required in the new eatery.
We had this discipline though not to misaappropriate any coin that begun dropping from the new business
Instead , we consciously plowed it back into business to buy additional tools.
We begun with our the plates we had in our house.
We could use them in the hotel at noon and in the house at night, such was the seemingly hopeless story that has nudged us this far .
Later, as more customers begun to strut in i
could send for one or two plates from the supermarket.
I have heard people talking of hustling and truly ours was a typical hustle.
And i want to tell our youth that don’t blow away the little you get today, keep it use it grow it.
A shilling invested brings a shilling tomorrow but if you blow it away, you cannot recover it.
Most big hotels like Serena begun from there and their historical roots looked depressing at the start but today if you look at them they are a brand.
Soon i will be inviting international groups to partner with us as we grow into the future.
Though my mother was selling busaa and Changaa i did not taste much myself.
It only struck me that a hotel concept could do instead of busaa.
At times my mother could be arrested with busaa
I remember one day when a Magistrate released her when she said she was selling liquor to educate her children.
It was that experience one hardly want to relive
I remember one day visiting our well to do to do neighbours during a party.
We got chased away because they said we we were village ruffians and may spoil their children who were studying in Nairobi then.
In one incident our mum consoled us and told us to read the more, to work hard in school.
We stayed on course trying to fulfill her hope of a better family.
All this happened long after my dad had died, in fact he died when i was personally very young.
I only get snippets of the gentleman he was from Ongwae, former Kisii Governor James Ongwae’s father who worked with him in Kericho as a court clerk.
Today several thugs are behind us, we are peeping into the future.
Most import we are working at growing this business into an international brand.
I don’t want it to die with me and this is the reason we gathered here to start the journey of a hospitality industry college here.
Once we take the first batch from May we want to train our young people values.
We are already doing it inside the hotel itself, training our young people and inspiring them to be a force for change.
The institute will leverage this realization of this objective.
It will be a platform where young people will be exchanging ideas with peers from other countries besides having cross cultural interactions.
And this we shall with my wife Isabel.
She is a rare woman who bought into my dream and ran with it.
We are a small vibrant family.