Tailor-made in Nakuru:
A 97-year-old Grandmother in Nakuru, Kenya who is not ready to retire from her hobby spends away her evenings and weekends sewing clothes in her bedroom.
Unlike her few age-mates who are lucky to be alive let alone strong enough to peddle a sewing machine, Lucia Mwihaki spends her evenings in her bedroom which hosts a sewing machine, cutting fabrics and joining the patches together to come up with great designs.
The machine which has she has been peddling for 63 years has become a life-long companion in beating the deadlines for her deliveries to schools and churches who still give her orders to date.
At her advanced age, Lucia gets a good number of orders and delivers them on time while she maintains her perfection in her work.
Surprisingly, Lucia still takes measurements and the names of her clients by herself and puts them down in her small note book before working on them.
Although she attended an adult school so as to learn how to read and understand figures for her business, Lucia’s amazing eyesight still enables her not to only read her tape measure but to also read her Bible and put down records.
“I had an urge to learn how to read the tape measure and put down records for my business but went ahead to learn to read and I can perfectly read a Bible and sing songs from the hymn books,” Lucia said.
Lucia is also a choir member in her church.
She says that poverty and the need to dress her seven children neatly drove her into tailoring and design sixty two years ago.
Discovering her dreams, her husband, who is now deceased, bought her a Singer Sewing Machine in 1952 which she uses till date.
The self-trained tailor said she learnt to sew all types of clothes including men’s trousers and school uniforms for boys and girls through buying ready-made attires and undoing them to discover how the patches were cut.
She would then buy a roll of cloth and apply what she had learned from the ready-made attires to come up with new dresses, shorts and shirts.
“If someone has a passion for something, they will definitely make it by all means. These days, people are just too lazy to learn but during our times, we learned through self-discoveries and errors so as to become professionals.” Lucia said.
With time, she started making her own designs and getting orders from her workmates at the now defunct Nakuru Municipal Council.
Her career in tailoring grew to attract orders for school uniforms from different schools within the municipality.
Through her sewing, Lucia educated all her children as well as catering for their daily needs after her husband died.
“They are all successful people now, all are married and they can now fend for their families.” says a joyful Lucia.
Though slowed by age, Lucia’s love for sewing never died and she has now retreated to her bedroom inside her daughter’s house on Kiamunyeki farm where she sews part-time.
Apart from sewing, Lucia who walks with the gait of a person 30-years-younger and works on the farm and weeds hedges around the house during the day.
One will be surprised to find that Lucia’s garden is well tended with lush green traditional vegetables and a variety of fruit trees.
She also sells to the nearby Wakulima market and helps in tending to livestock on the one-acre farm.
She attributes her great condition to working hard and advises the youth to engage themselves in sustainable income generating projects instead of idling and engaging in the consumption of illicit brews and drugs.
Carolyne Chebet, is a 25-year old Kenyan Journalist who likes creating her own peaceful world with creative words. She has been a practising Journalist since 2011. Find her on Twitter @corriecarol or Facebook/CorrieCarol