Fresh Life Operator David Mai in front of his Fresh Life Toilet
The Fresh Life Operators who own and operate our Fresh Life Toilets are an amazing group of individuals – not simply business owners, but leaders who inspire their community – and our team – every single day. We are so proud to announce the Sanergy family has added its 100th Fresh Life Operator. This week we introduce you to the man who marks that milestone, David Mairuru.
When did you become a businessman?
I used to work in other people’s fields and gardens to pay my school fees and save money to start my own business. I was able to save enough money to open my first business, the shop my wife and I still operate, in 2003.
How did you accomplish this?
There are no limits to starting a business.. It’s just how you manage your money. If I get 10 ksh (11 cents) I can make it to 15 ksh (17 cents) with hard work. When I got my first job in Nairobi, I opened a bank account, and was able to save most of my monthly salary. When you have money in the bank, you can open your mind – see how you can gain. I save for business improvements, like the Fresh Life Toilet I bought for my newest compound. When you make an investment, you can quickly move up and onto another business opportunity.
What is your motivation?
My wife, Everline and I have three children – Faith is 10, Barack (named after then-Senator Barack Obama) is 8, and Innocent is 3. We aspire to the kind of lives we see people living in other estates. I watch other children being escorted to school in vehicles, and I want that for our children. It will happen soon. I bought a beautiful two-acre plot outside of Mukuru in 2008, and have been depositing the profits from my businesses into my savings account each month, to build the house.
What is your vision for your neighborhood?
My neighbors and I – we didn’t choose to be here, but we manage, and we improve where we can. I do my best to make this a nice place to live. When I opened my new compound with its Fresh Life Toilet last month, I invited my friends to the official training, so that they could learn about Fresh Life. I let them use my Fresh Life Toilet for free, because I want to encourage them to buy Fresh Life Toilets. I tell them that the Fresh Life Toilet is so small that I can put it in the hallway, which lets me rent out the room that would have otherwise been occupied by the pit latrine. Also, if I had gotten a pit latrine then the waste removers would have dumped my tenants’ waste in a nearby waterway, leaving a bad odor and a dirty hallway in my complex. We can do better. I want to be able to go door to door in my neighborhood, and find a Fresh Life Toilet behind every door.
David’s brand new compound hallway, apartment doors on left, and Fresh Life Toilet at the end of the hallway