Grace Naker Endnog is a mother of five children. Grace lives in Ngaremara ward of Isiolo county in Northern Kenya – an area of the world devastated by climate change. Because of the changing climate, men can travel for months upon end in search of grazing lands. Women are left behind in their homes, responsible for feeding their children and sending them to school.
In this Mother’s Day Interview Grace speaks about her children, her evolution to a mompreneur, and her advice to moms on staying resilient.
Tell us about your children.
I have five children, a fourteen-year-old boy, a twelve-year-old girl and three other boys who are nine, five and two and a half years old.
What are some things your children have done that have brought you joy?
I’m so proud of my children because they are all going to school. Each one of them is a top performer in their class. My eldest son is now about to join secondary school. Seeing my children progress fills my heart with joy.
And there’s one more thing. Everyone in my household, all the boys and the girl – they all contribute to the housework. This too makes me proud of all my children.
What was life before you became a businesswoman?
It was hard. I had to rely on “cash” work. I did things like making fences for cattle, washing clothes for other people, and selling charcoal. The work was tough on me, and the income was unpredictable. What made things worse for me was that my husband was sick at the time. I had so much going on, inside and outside the home, and those were some difficult days.
How has life changed after you became a businesswoman?
I often tell people that God sent BOMA to me. My life changed after a BOMA mentor taught me about running a business and saving up for emergencies. I began running a convenience store selling household staples like sugar, flour and oil. I also started up a livestock business. I was able to make money and save for a rainy day. Now, I know we’re always going to have money. I’m always going to be able to feed my children and send them to school.
How has life changed for you after COVID-19?
It has been difficult. The price of items has gone up due to transport restrictions. To make matters worse, people stocked up in March, and they aren’t buying as much anymore. But I’m resolved to staying strong and positive. I tell my family and community members to follow government directives and stay healthy. I also ask people to pray that these times will be behind us.
What’s your advice to other mothers? How can they deal with unexpected events?
All women are created strong. And so I ask all women to be strong for their families. Being strong means having the courage to stay flexible. You have to be able and willing to come up with different ideas when faced with adversity. For example, the business at my convenience store suffered after COVID-19. But I decided to change and enter different businesses. I have started making and selling mandazi donuts. My customers aren’t coming to me. And so, I have started dropping off items like sugar at the homes of my customers. There’s always something you can do. No matter, where you are or what you do, you have to be innovative.