Inside food vendor’s day with DP Gachagua

For Ms Asha Chengo, a mother of three who runs a small food kiosk at the Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa, sitting down with the Deputy President at his residence was never something she would have imagined.

Her casual offer of tea to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at her eatery on Thursday morning turned into an invitation to spend some time at the country’s second-in-command’s official residence in Mombasa County.

The Deputy President often spotted Ms Chengo during his frequent morning walks at the Mama Ngina Waterfront in Mombasa and always greeted her from a distance.

On Thursday, however, her day took an unexpected turn when Mr Gachagua invited her to his official residence, presenting her with a rare opportunity.

“When you passed by, I told myself, ‘This must be the Deputy President’. I prayed to God to give me the courage to come and share my problems, hoping that He would help me. I invited you for tea and I was shocked that you listened,” said Ms Chengo as she chatted with the Deputy President.

For Ms Chengo, it was an opportunity to share her struggles with the DP in the hope that he could address her concerns.

“I cook chapati, ugali and many other local dishes. I am from Kilifi County and I came here just to find means to feed my family. I have faced challenges with my children. The other day when you passed by, it was raining and I couldn’t stop you to explain my problems,” said Ms Chengo while talking to the DP.

In the early moments of her meeting with the Deputy President, she mentioned that one of her sons couldn’t enroll in secondary school due to financial constraints.

She revealed that her first-born son, who had previously sat the KCPE, had not been able to attend secondary school. The second son, who had managed to get into school, had been given a scholarship, but it was not enough to cover all the fees.

“I just stopped you because my problem was with my children’s school fees. I really want my children to have the opportunity to go to school and continue their studies,” said Ms Chengo.

When Mr Gachagua asked her how much she needed, she was thrown off balance as she had not anticipated the amount she would be asking for.

But the deputy president went ahead and gave her financial support, encouraging her to expand her business.

“I will give you Sh50,000 to take the children back to school and Sh50,000 to invest in your business so that you can provide for them,” said Mr Gachagua.

The Deputy President arrived in Mombasa on Wednesday and was scheduled to hold events in neighbouring Kilifi County on Thursday.


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