Jebel Kujur

“Clean and well stocked”, are the two words that you are likely to use if you were asked to describe Okoth’s shop in komarocks in Nairobi. That heavy capital and great care has gone into setting up the shop is obvious even to a passerby. If the shop had a name like okoth’s road side store, or bidii yako highway shop, maybe you wouldn’t care more than the cold soda that might have brought you to the shop. But the shop has a strange name; Jebel Kujur.

If you are anything like me, you wouldn’t go without having Okoth explain the name. Jebel Kujur is a market in Juba south Sudan. But why call a shop in the east lands of Nairobi jebel Kujur? Well, brace yourself for the answer I got: 

Three years ago Okoth came to Nairobi like many young men and ladies to look for employment; as Okoth came to learn later; Nairobi has no respect for college diplomas; for a whole year he combed the whole city for a job without success.
Somebody once said that opportunity comes dressed in an overall and looks like work, for Okoth this saying is true. Opportunity came to him disguised as his cousin Owino who needed assistance to find a vacant house in Komarocks.
Owino was coming back from juba where he had been since the comprehensive peace agreement was signed in 2005. “Juba is ripe my brother”    those are the words that Owino kept blasting in Okoth’s ears. “Go sell anything in Juba and you will make money, I say anything “Owino continued.
Anyone else would have dismissed Owino’s assertions as an effect of the jetlag or the excitement of being back from a foreign country, but Okoth took him seriously.
To the shock of Owino, friends and relatives, Okoth announced that he was going to try his luck in Juba.
On the 15th day of  September the year 2009,armed with 15000 Kenya shillings(200 USD) borrowed from a dozen relatives, Okoth set out for juba with two luggage’s one with his clothes and personal effects and the other with audio CD’S.
After 26 hours on the road, Okoth arrived at customs bus stop in Juba town. He was received by pastor Kato, a friend of Owino.
Unfortunately pastor Kato was leaving to Rumbek the following day and was to be there for six on his second day in juba, Okoth was alone in a foreign country, broke and with no acquaintances or friends.
But maybe this is what activated Okoth’s survival instincts, that so him sell at the jebel Kujur market, all the audio CD’s that he had brought from Nairobi in a week.
 A business had been born, for slightly more than a year Okoth sold audio CD’S at the jebel market.
In January 2011 when Okoth decided to come back to Nairobi for fear of chaos that were feared to arise after the south Sudan’s vote for cessation from the larger Sudan, he wore on his face a big smile, a smile that only Owino could understand.
Until today the words Jebel Kujur are dear to Okoth. The jebel Kujur shop in Komarocks is not just a shop, but a firstborn child of okoth’s business being. That’s why it must be clean and well fed (stocked).

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