Editor's Review

  • Having been in the city for quite sometime, Michael noticed there were many people who always asked for direction and decided to fill the gap by establishing his direction-giving enterprise

Being the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi is considered the land of opportunities, therefore, every day thousands of youth come into the city hoping to secure a job and build an amazing future. 

Unfortunately, there are limited jobs and as such, not everyone can be accommodated. This has forced thousands of Kenyans to be creative and look into other legal ways of earning a living.

One such Kenyan is Michael Mureithi, popularly known as Jopinto who makes a living by providing directions at a fee, for persons who are lost or don’t know how to locate different places in Nairobi.

Speaking during a recent interview, Michael noted that having been in the city for quite sometime, he noticed there were many people who always asked for direction, therefore he decided to fill the gap by establishing his direction-giving enterprise.

He told said that the lack of employment opportunities and tough economic times forced him into the business.

"Lazima nifanye hii kazi kwa sababu hii ndo kazi inanipatia pesa. (I must do this job because it is what gives me money)," he was quoted.

Aerial view of a section of Nairobi CBD. [Photo: Courtesy]

Opening up on the status of the business, Jopinto divulged that averagely, more than 100 people seek his services on a daily basis.

He further noted that he charges Sh100 for giving directions and Sh150 for taking the customer to the specific point that he/she intends to go.

"Tumeeka hapo bango kuonyesha kuuliza direction ni 100. Tunaongea na mwenye anauliza, namuambia kuuliza direction ni 100 bob, akikubali sawa, akikataa namwacha. (We have a poster indicating that we charge Sh100 to give directions, if the customer is okay with that, we take them to their destination, if not, we do not provide any service)," he explained.

A quick calculation of the numbers indicates that on a good day, Jopinto can make up to Sh10,000 or more, depending on the type of service sort by the customer.

This multiplied by 30 days assuming he works Sunday to Sunday, amounts to at least Sh300,000.

This is way more than what most junior and middle-level employees earn in both government and the private sector.

Owing to the high-crime rate and increased scams across the city, most residents are always skeptical of trusting anyone in the streets, however, Jopinto notes that he and his team are professional, thus they do not engage in any devious activities.

He further notes that all members of his team are widely known by the police and business owners around Ronald Ngala where they are based, and across the city.

Additionally, he divulged that being their main source of living, they cannot mess around with it.

"Watu wengi wanatuliza direction, mwingine anakuja anauliza archives iko wapi, gari za kaka transport ziko wapi, tukielewana bei tunaemdirect na hatuwei ukora yoyote coz pia sisi tuko kazi. (Many people ask us for directions, some want to be shown how to access National Archives, others want to know where to pick Kaka sacco matatus, we give directions without fail because it is our job)," he said.

Michael and his team are just one of the many examples of the creative ideas Kenyans have to put in place to earn a living and service the harsh economic times.

Other interesting activities that young Kenyans have ventured into include; social media influencing which has been massive, especially after the Covid-19 outbreak that forced a lot of companies to invest in online resources.