Olkiramatian is a small village in Kenya, close to the Tanzanian border and near Lake Magadi, one of the many lakes of the Great Rift Valley. There are only around two hundred inhabitants in the village, but there is a big catchment area with thousands of people. The people are mainly Maasai who are livestock herders and live a very traditional lifestyle, but love to be connected with family and friends through their mobile phones.
The village is about 140 kilometers from Nairobi, in a fairly remote area. Some parts of the road get flooded during the rainy seasons. Meeting trucks stuck in the mud when the rains are heavy is not uncommon. Large herds of cattle and goats sometimes block the road. A SOLARKIOSK truck goes there every two weeks to bring quality products to our E-HUBB, which is one of just a few shops in the village and the only shop that is open daily at predictable hours. At the E-HUBB, SOLARKIOSK sells local snacks (Honeycare) and daily essentials such as maize flour, cooking oil, sugar and sanitary items alongside a wide selection of solar products and fuel-efficient cooking stoves. Since there is no electricity grid in Olkiramatian, our solar products are in high demand.
The E-HUBB has now been expanded into a connected solar market center, (a CSMC), with a restaurant, a butchery, a viewing hall, a beautiful sitting area and patio.
The inhabitants of Olkiramatian tell us they feel uplifted by the CSMC. They now have a beautiful place in the middle of the village where they can meet and chat, have a cold drink, eat local food, do some shopping, watch the news and a football match. Soon there will be a vegetable store, a pool table and other social games and a wifi hotspot for internet access.
The people who work in the CSMC play a big role in the aspect of uplifting the community. Kelvin Lepapa is the E-HUBB operator. Dickson Sarem is a local entrepreneur who rented a space within in the CSMC to run a restaurant and a butchery. 19-year-old Charity Nosim and her colleagues, Esther Yiamat and Njeri, work as cooks, waitresses, and assistants at the restaurant. Vestus Kisiang’u is the butcher. The E-HUBB/CSMC stands out in Olkiramatian as a new level of development in the area and is highly appreciated by the local community.
And this is just the beginning. Look out for our feature next week on Charity Nosim and her words of wisdom for SOLARKIOSK.