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Pair makes a living off ‘toothbrush’ twig

Some youths in Eastleigh have embarked on a new venture — one that leaves many with a confident smile.

Samson Musyoka and his colleagues sell well-trimmed sticks and roots for use as toothbrushes.

Musyoka says the tree they get the sticks from is called mkayau, in his native Kamba language.  “I cannot buy manufactured toothbrushes. I love these sticks because they reach all my teeth,” said a man who requested anonymity. He bought 50 sticks for his family.

Musyoka is excited because the sticks are popular with many residents.  “I get most of them from our shamba at Makueni, but I also buy from other people to ensure a constant supply for my customers,” he said.

Mkayau grows naturally in Makindu, Mashinari and Kiboko, he explained.

Unlike Musyoka, Patrick Kimenye buys three sacks of the twigs every week, trims them and sells them in retail. One twig goes for Sh10.

The traders usually supply either in bulk or in small quantities.