Your mama mboga has a secret. Beneath the tightly knotted scarf on her head, and her friendly manner, there is a well kept secret that she does not want you to know. Wakulima market-yes, that large market along Haile Selassie road in Muthurwa. It is a gem among stones for all food related businesses and here is how and why. Over 4 million mouths within the capital city and its environs are fed by the mother of all Nairobi’s markets, year in, year out. Lang’ata, Rongai, Syokimau, Karen, and South C are only a few of the many Kenyan residential areas that Wakulima supplies.
A normal market day begins at 2 am, when the trucks arrive with their loads of fresh fruits and vegetables. They travel all the way from Tanzania, Uganda and some luscious parts of Kenya. These trucks are met by the eager hands of off loaders. Mikokoteni (hand carts), crates and sacks are the order of the day as off loaders relieve the trucks of their cargo to stalls and open air stands.
From these market stands and stalls, the freshest of the produce is sold at friendly prices. This is where your mama mboga digs for gold along with other shrewd Kenyans. It is not just grocers who buy from Wakulima. Hotels, food companies, schools, families are supplied as well. All this leads up to the preparation of food which ends up on your plate.
59-year-old John Kamau Jehya sorting out sacks at his store before customers start coming in.
He has been doing this for 30 years and confesses his happiest moments are when he has to rush out of the market to get more sacks because the ones he had in store run out.