"No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid," Lupita Nyong'o during her acceptance speech at the 86th Academy awards after winning her first Oscar. These words explicitly portray the fascinating, amazing, and inspirational journey of Wambui Machua. The story of a Kenyan teacher who now runs a lucrative business empire in the United States of America.
Wambui was born of a humble family in Nairobi in the year 1970. Her family kept livestock which pushed her father to start a butchery in the city. Her mother, on the other hand, was a flight attendant.
Wambui spent the better part of her childhood reading books and fantasizing about travelling around the world. At the age of 15, however, her dream would become a reality. As a result of her mother's hard work, Wambui was accorded the opportunity to visit the state of California in the US. There, she would enjoy the delightful experience of visiting the world-renowned Disneyland theme park and the Universal Studios in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.A File Photo of Wambui Machua Attending to her Clients in the USFile
That trip would become the first step in her pursuit of a better life in the US. Wambui decided to apply for a scholarship in the city of Scio, Oregon, to be an exchange student immediately after she completed her high school studies.
Her friends, who played a significant role in her success, linked her to her first job. At 23, she decided to take up an offer to sell African art in a store owned by a woman she had met through her friends. She bought several suitcases of African art and moved in with the woman while she began making other connections throughout the city.
The road to success is not one of ease, as Wambui would soon discover. The lady who had once welcomed her into her home would turn her back on Wambui and kick her out.
“One day she said ‘you have to go',” Wambui painfully recalled.
“I said okay, not a problem. I start taking my things out of the house. And then the issue comes up of payment for the stuff that she’s already taken.
“She slams the door in my face and refuses to let me get the rest of my things,” she continued to narrate.
A friend in need is a friend indeed, her friends took her in and while still struggling to find a new niche in life, she won a green card that allowed her to start her business and even pursue other opportunities.
Wambui later moved into her own place in Portland, Oregon and enrolled at the University of Phoenix in Tigard. She successfully completed her bachelor's degree in management and started Spice of Africa.
Slowly but surely, she began by teaching cooking classes, growing her business. The business expanded to selling at farmer’s markets, catering, and then opening her own restaurant at the Morrison Market.
As of now, Spice of Africa is a striving business empire in the US.
“I was at one point homeless because I didn’t have a place of my own to call home when I got kicked out of that woman’s house.
“Somebody was gracious enough to take me in and they didn’t even know me. They helped me out. So, if I can, why not give somebody else a helping hand?” she posed.
Her plans for Spice of Africa continue to broaden, and she is now working on writing a cookbook and a book of short stories and poems based on her life in Kenya and Portland.
Her teaching profession comes into play when she trains other chefs, giving them insights about spices that originate from Africa.
On her success journey, Wambui appreciates the people who have motivated her along the way, helping her become a leader in the food industry market in the US.File Photo of Wambui Machua Serving Food She PreparedFile
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