When invited to share your story, how do you respond? Research shows that the majority of people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying. In that same vein, most people prefer to keep their stories to themselves. Among the many reasons given are – “My story is not inspiring enough” or “It’s just too embarrassing to share.” Whatever your reason, there will always be someone out there who could benefit from your experience.
Nancy Kalembe, the proprietor of Mbalimbali Ltd., a company that grows pineapples and processes them into all-natural pineapple jam and two types of pineapple juice was at her wits end just over two years ago. A series of misfortunes had crossed her path. Her marriage soured leaving her a single mother of two her father passed away in a motor accident and she ended up spending time in jail because her rent arrears had accumulated beyond the point that her landlord could tolerate. Kalembe was in trouble.
Begin with what you have
When she got out of prison, she challenged herself to rise above her circumstances. Unable to find a market for the pineapples on her farm, she began making pineapple juice and then pineapple jam. These were products she had never made before. All she had was the raw materials – pineapples – and the will to experiment. With recipes copied off the Internet, Nancy began making jam and juice from the pineapple flesh. An aunt showed her how to make juice from the pineapple peels too, providing Kalembe with a third product. Every visitor to her home became part of her test market and all their feedback was positive.
Just as it looked like her bad times were over, a fire burned up a section of the pineapple farm. In yet another season, her workers harvested all the pineapples behind her back, leaving behind nothing but the green crowns. In spite of these setbacks, Kalembe pushed on.
Kalembe’s production process has since moved from the kitchen in her late father’s house to the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI). Her products are sold under the brand name Spring Pineapple in retail outlets along the Nsambya – Ggaba Road. In two years, Kalembe will move out of UIRI to her own facility. Along the way, she has learned how to manage business finances, how to approach commercial banks for loans and how to apply for grants all skills she did not have before.
Last week, Kalembe shared this story at a Network of African Business Women Uganda event. The Guest of Honour, Graca Machel, was so moved and inspired – like everyone else – that she promised to return to Uganda to launch the Spring Pineapple factory, when the time comes.
Kalembe shared her story, inspired others and walked away with a wonderful surprise. When given the opportunity, go ahead and share your story.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor