MY AMBOSELI JOURNEY
I dedicate this article to:
- My family: for the love they gave me from the beginning of my journey till date.
- Amboseli fraternity: from management (Madam Rose Njeri, Madam Dinah- HOD Hospitality), tutors (Mr Obuya, Madam Mary, Madam Mary Alice, Mr Amimo, Madam Vivian, Madam Wanjeri, Mr Kiarie, Madam Eunice, Madam Beatrice). Without you all I would not have the knowledge I have today regarding culinary arts and also the chance to join Carrefour Kenya.
- Majid al Futtaim Hypermarkets Carrefour Kenya: the effort to come to my school, the chance to train with you and the opportunity to work together.
All I could think of was taking my culinary interest to the next level. I needed an institution that would make that happen for me. Late 2016 I visited many institutions that offered Food Production as a course. What was interesting was that Amboseli Institute of Hospitality and Technology was the last institution that I visited. But it was the institution that I finally settled with. They had:
- Multiple intakes per annum.
- Pocket friendly school fees as well as a flexible mode of payment.
- They offered the quarter system which meant I would wind up with course quickly without the long holidays.
- I was assured that they would source attachment for me and the best part was it would be at the end of my coursework.
Just but to mention these were part of the reasons that made me consider taking my course at AIHT.
My course work journey
Beginning January 2018 is when I enrolled and my journey began. But every journey has its ups and downs. Reflecting back my main down was creating the balance in my life. Being a young mum, schooling and having a side hustle were not a bed of roses. Time was and is still very essential to me. I promised myself that I would never miss class unless it was a matter of life and death, because when else would I get the time to read if I did not grasp the concept if not during class hours.
My side hustle was making beaded items. I was able to raise a few funds and with the help of my father I never lacked school fees. During that year we had re-elections and it is not abnormal for business to go down, this is how mine came to a break-even point and I decided to put on hold. I still needed the money for school and my baby girl. Fortunately I got another side hustle as a waitress. I would work at night and school during the day. At this point I felt as though I would break because I was not getting enough rest, self- time and time for my baby girl. Because of the strain I also felt I would start performing poorly in class and in exams generally. I had to have a plan. I decided that would work for a maximum of 3 months. During this time I would save up all that I could because I was approaching my final quarter of the coursework. I had to ready for my finals. And surely my plan worked out.
January 2018 I had quit my waitress job and saved up what I would. I was able to focus more in coursework and create time for my family especially daughter. I had to, since I would be on attachment soon. I wanted to maximize on my industrial training period but at the same time have time for my daughter. And surely God hears and answers our prayers.
In March 2018 we had visitors from Majid Al Futtaim Carrefour, Kenya. It was my first time to know of them. Their timing was just impeccable as were just we were planning for our attachment in April 2018, which was a few weeks away. What was interesting was they were in the retail industry.
The school was kind enough to give us the chance to join the Retail. When I told my family that I was considering interning at a hypermarket, all I could see was the unsure look in their faces owing to the fact that retail was a new concept. I remember the MAF staff did the presentation for us in and what caught my attention was their butchery section. The meat industry is something that we had not covered well. And here was a chance to learn for free. All notions aside, I decided Carrefour was it for me.
It was the best choice I made. Best of all was that I was not far from and I was able to see my daughter and family on a weekly basis.
On 30th April 2018 I began my attachment at Carrefour Kenya, Two Rivers branch. Carrefour Kenya was kind to us as they allowed us to familiarize ourselves with the section the market department. They included pastry and bakery, delicatessen and cheese, receiving and butchery and fishery. This was quite beneficial as we were able to understand how these sections are. Butchery was always my final destination.
Oh the cold! I will never forget my first day in the butchery section. I almost did want to go back again. But no matter what my objective did not change. I wanted to learn as much as I could about meat. Other than the cold the training had other challenges. I was in a male dominated industry and the transition was not without hiccups but I was determined to learn and that is what kept me going.
The best thing about Majid Al Futtaim Hypermarket Carrefour Kenya was diversity. I was able to learn about poultry, beef, lamb, goat and pork. The different parts, cuts and products produced. The very first time one gets scared because some of the cuts you have never heard of and there you are with a client asking for the beef rump stake and you innocently give them a stare momentarily. With time it becomes easy to identify with the parts and even makes the cuts without supervision. This only happens if you have interest in what you are doing.
At the end of my attachment I was on the right track of becoming a professional butcher. I had the skills and the interest. But this did not come easy; I remember the day I almost lost my index finger. This was quite scary for me. My finger healed eventually and my journey did not stop there.
Three months after finishing my attachment I got a call back from Carrefour TRM branch and I officially joined them a professional butcher in November 2019.
I am currently at Carrefour Junction branch as a butcher. In less than a year I have been able to understand the parts and different cuts of the meat we sell at Carrefour. My customer service skills have improved and I am more confident and competent in what I do. My main specialty is pork meat, making sausages and marinating meat.
When I look back joining AIHT was the best choice I made.