Booming Business For Mzungu Hawking Mandazis

  • Sylvia Bichanga at her shop in Kisumu where she sells American street food. (Undated)
    Sylvia Bichanga at her shop in Kisumu where she sells American street food in November 2021
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  • When 28-year old Sylvia Bichanga, an American, found love in Kenya, she did not know that life would not be rosy for her family.

    Financial constraints forced her to become a food vendor in order to help complement the little income her husband was bringing home.

    After seven months of marriage, Sylvia found herself hawking mandazis on the streets of Kisumu, a venture she says was suggested by a Kenyan friend who later became her business partner.

    Sylvia started hawking mandazis and after a few days, she and her business partner, made enough money to open a shop.

    Sylvia and her husband Kelvin Bichanga at their home in Kisumu (Undated)
    Sylvia and her husband Kelvin Bichanga at their home in Kisumu in November 2021
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    Sylvia Bichanga Facebook

    At the new stall, Sylvia makes pretzels, pies and tea, which have become popular with the locals.

    The American national notes that locals enjoy her snacks and some see her joint as a way for them to enjoy food from the United States.

    But as the business boomed, locals started questioning why a white woman would be hawking street food owing to the perception that all Americans are rich.

    Sylvia states that women who find her at the shop always question why she does that kind of business, with some going to the extent of mocking her.

    However, she explained that their words do not discourage her as she makes a profit of up to Ksh2,000 in a single day and complements what her husband gets.

    When customers are few at the shop, Sylvia goes out to the streets to hawk.

    Speaking on her life in Kenya and meeting her husband, Sylvia states that she faced rejection over her relationship with Kelvin, who repairs electronics in Kisumu. 

    Sylvia's story is like numerous others of foreigners who go viral on social media for working blue-collar jobs which Kenyans tend to assume are not worthy of these foreign nationals.

    Sylvia and her husband Kelvin Bichanga at their home in Kisumu (Undated)
    Sylvia and her husband Kelvin Bichanga at their home in Kisumu in November 2021
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    Courtesy Sylvia Youtube