Copstick in Kenya does a roaring trade

The Mama Biashara HQ at the Nairobi Showgrounds this week (Doris, centre in red)

The Mama Biashara HQ at the Showground this week (Mama B organiser Doris, centre right in red)

To round off this week’s blogs about comedy critic Kate Copstick in Kenya, here are some final extracts from her diary.

Her small-scale business start-up charity Mama Biashara has been working at the annual Nairobi International Trade Show:


SATURDAY 3rd OCTOBER

Doris calls to say the City Council gang have been round again extorting money from the little people. Otherwise all is going well at The Show. We now have over 200 women and over 100 guys working there. Most recently we added 10 new guys doing shoeshine. And a roaring trade.

SUNDAY 4th OCTOBER

Felista arrives with a gift of eggs but for some reason I am in such pain that I cannot get out of bed. An hour later and I am up but very very sore. Pain that feels as if it is in my bones. I take my last quarter Oxycontin and soon feel better. I chat with Felista and Cecilia who joins for a bit. Doris texts from the Showground (where everything is being packed up and sorted out), to say that Mama Biashara has kicked off 324 BRAND NEW business people at the Show this week. And that is not counting the already established Mama B peeps who were also there making a good amount.

Our big success, says Doris, was – surprisingly – the young men (60 of them, many ex-drunkards and casualties of the government’s crack down on illegal booze) who did the garbage collection. They made 1,000 shillings per day. Which is more than they ever dreamed. We are thrilled. The sugar cane people have big new orders and our cocktails are much in demand…

All good.

I leave Felista at the Mali Cafe to have lunch and go to Junction to use WiFi and do a little necessary shopping. I do a lot of packing as everything is going to the airport tomorrow. Not much soapstone means things are easier packing wise. Although somehow two lovely rosewood carvings are already broken.

MONDAY 5th OCTOBER

David arrives at 9.30am and we start loading the car. I have brought Dollars this time which is much better as the Shilling is pretty much in the financial toilet at the moment. I contact the marvellous Les Phillpott (Our Man At Heathrow) to arrange customs clearance on Thursday (which is when Benson The Cargo Man says it will arrive) and head to have some lunch.

I am meeting Jayne and Doris later and they opt for Shalom (grrrrrr – 100 bob for a coffee !). I go through a load of business proposals. I am VERY strict as most of them seem to be operating on a profit of about £1.50 per day. I do a lot of what is now called “your mathematics” and explain why these businesses are not sustainable. Jayne makes copious notes and nods a lot. Doris arrives, still buzzing from the success of the show.

Sorry this ends abruptly but I have to go to the loo…


Back in Britain with more stock for the Mama Biashara shop in London’s Shepherd’s Bush, Copstick will be recording the weekly Grouchy Club Podcast with me this Friday.

And there will be live (free) Grouchy Club chat shows at the Mama Biashara shop in Shepherd’s Bush on Tuesday 13th October, Tuesday 10th November, Tuesday 8th December and Tuesday 22nd December.

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