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This woman has been serving tea to street children. Now she needs your help

Faith Mutua wakes up early daily, leaves her house in Shauri Moyo and heads to Gikomba market where she hawks tea to the tradesmen and women, cart pullers and passersby.

Ms Mutua, a mother of three, started the business in 2016. One day, as she was going about her business, a wealthy businessman only known to her as Mt Kenya, approached her and paid her to serve tea to the street children around the area.

This was behind the Family Bank branch, just near the river. The next day, he paid for the children to have their tea and gave them cakes from his supermarket. That has become the norm except on Sundays.

“When he started paying me to serve them, he used to pay Sh3, 000 per day. This was enough to buy all the ingredients and I would still have a lot left over for myself. But now, he only pays me Sh 1000, yet the number of children keeps growing,” Ms Mutua, a short rotund lady in a grey tee-shirt and black trousers.

NUMBER HAS GROWN

According to Ms Mutua, the number of children has grown from 20 to about 150. She said that it has become very difficult to cater to them and still earn a profit. To serve all of them, she has to make 20 litres of tea every day.

Some of the street children in Gikomba market. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
Some of the street children in Gikomba market. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

“I quit twice, in July and then again in November last year. When I feel the expenses are too much I tell Mt Kenya to add the money but he says if I can’t take the pressure, then I should quit. When I do, the children come looking for me and I’m back at it,” Mama Chokora, as the traders at the market call her, narrated.

She said that the homeless, who range between the ages of 7 and 30 years, only want to be served by her.

She claims that when other tea hawkers were given the contract, they only lasted a few days before they buckled under the pressure and bowed out. The urchins would pour their tea and demand to have their ‘mother’ serve them.

“Working with them is a challenge. When I forget to take my phone or any money out of my pockets, I will surely be robbed. They also like insulting me, pushing and shoving. These days I’m immune to all that,” she explained.

An unruly mob, some of the girls carrying young babies, and all of them holding a bottle or rag to their mouths stand around Mama Chokora, her brood of children.

NO OTHER INCOME

Ordinary customers no longer buy her tea, they feel that the filth associated with the homeless will rub off on them, so she cannot really quit, as she will have no other income.

Ms Mutua would like to keep supporting these needy children but also would like to earn a living from it. Her children are all in school, the eldest is in Form Three while the youngest is in Standard Seven. She would a sponsor to help pay for the tea she makes as she is struggling to eke out a living.