Author - Jammy

Mombasa Best Street Snacks

Every city has its favourite street snacks, most of them reflecting on the culture and people. Being able to walk around and savoring different kind of street snacks is one of the highlights in attracting tourism, in Mombasa we have different kind of street food that is a must when visiting Mombasa. It is the everyday snacks loved by everyone; some of the snacks are a result of different infusions of cultures.  The street foods are reasonable and fulfilling, you will find the vendors at different streets.  There 6 snacks you absolutely cannot miss when you visit Mombasa:

Viazi via Karai & Bhajiya

When you walk in the alleys of old town you will find Swahili women selling Viazi karai and Bhajiya. The mouth watering boiled potatoes cooked in garam flour and deep fried is loved by many. Accompanied with chutney or tamaraind sauce makes it an ideal late afternoon snack. Bhajiya, which is made from black eye peas grinded and deep fried in to small balls, is also a favourite.  The combination is ideal for a quick street snack, but some hotels sell it for breakfast. At around 50 shillings you can get a whole plate.

Kachiri/Muhogo

Mama Ngina drive is one of the popular destinations in Mombasa, many Mombasa residents flock the area over the weekend to relax and savor some coconut water (Madafu) and cassava snacks. Deep fried cassava with red chili pepper and lime on top makes it a delicious snack while enjoying the sea breeze. You can have cassava crisps in a bag to share with friends and family. Prices start as low as 20 shillings depending on the snack and quantity.

Babu Kachiri

Babu Kachri is a very popular street food in Mombasa. It consists of a thick tangy potato gravy, sprinkled with crushed potato crisps and khara sev (a fried crispy snack made from chickpea flour and spices) and topped with a spicy chutney. It is loved by all ages, from children to adults. The mix is unique because it is a blend of different culture cuisine into one.  From Arab influence to Indian inspired snacks. It portrays what Mombasa is, the fusion of cultures. The price goes from thirty shillings per bag or forty shillings. You find the vendors across various streets in Mombasa, they usually operate from a cart.  They normally start selling after 4pm till 6:30pm.

Mahamri and Mbaazi

It’s not a Swahili breakfast without Mbaazi and Mahamri (Mahambri), if you have lived in coast you know this is true. A true coastal tradition passed on generation by generation, and still going on up to date. Mbaazi is made of pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk, while Mahamri (Mahambri) is a Swahili delicacy eaten with other meals to compliment the taste. It’s fascinating that in Mombasa, this is a very common around town. You will find food vendors around different areas selling the combo at a reasonable price. A cup of Mbaazi goes from 30 kshs to 50kshs, while a Mahamri (Mahambri) goes for 5 kshs a piece. People on their way to work will stop over these vendors and devour in a coastal breakfast leaving them full for the rest of the day.

MIshkaki

Mishkaki is a East African meat delicacy, mostly served in the evening.  It is made of beef or chicken cubes, skewered on sticks and grilled over charcoal.  Sold by sticks, and accompanied by tamarind sauce and salad. You will find the vendors on various streets around Mombasa, you can either do take away or seat on the chairs and savor in the grilled snack. Some restaurant/ vendors offer with chips, naan bread or chapati. The delicious tender meat is ideal after a long day and share with family and friends.  Prices go from 15 shillings to 30 shillings a stick.

Mabuyu & Achari

Mabuyu is a coastal snack enjoyed by the young and old.  Cooked in sugar syrup the baobab seeds are then added colour to give it a zest. Mostly enjoyed while watching movies or hanging out with friends. Mabuyu has even been exported to other countries by coastarian to bring home closer to them.  The colours range from red to even green can be found sold around Mackinon Market and environs or even at individual homes. Achari is mango cut into pieces and dried to make it easier to eat, sometimes sugar is added to make it sweeter. You will find others with added colour , which is mostly red.  Normally sold in sachets the price range for kshs 5 – kshs 20.

Jina langu ni Johra Al Nahdy

 

Your Name and what do you do?

Johra Amer Al Nahdy. I am the Founder and Director at Cake Emporium college of confectionery Arts in Mombasa.

Tell us about Cake Emporium?

Cake emporium college of confectionery arts is a state of art institute providing world class education driven by passion, leadership, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation in the baking industry to empower a generation of confectionery and cake artists. Our institute has really shifted the common notion that baking is a mere formality. We have invested heavily towards discovering creativity in the industry offering value to our students beyond their expectations. We offer a broad range of baking courses, training, mentorship, skill transfer and consultancy.

How did you get into the baking and confectionery arts industry?

I have always been passionate about pastry and sugar Art, I enjoy the creative process so much that FROM A YOUNG AGE I have always found myself indulging in baking and experimenting with all sorts of recipes and techniques, this pushed me to join pastry school while living in Canada to allow me to explore my curiosity and hobby and eventually I felt  I should take my tempting creations to Mombasa and share my knowledge with others. More to the same I am also very keen on girl child empowerment and I its obvious we can’t all be doctors and lawyers and hence there is a need for exploring the arts, the confectionery arts industry is young and virgin in Mombasa and Kenya as a whole but has immense potential and that’s why I chose to venture into the same.

What was the greatest challenge you faced while starting Cake Emporium in Mombasa?

The main challenge that I am facing is inadequate awareness about the nature of  confectionery arts industry.Many people still think going to school to learn baking isn’t something that should be undertaken, in addition the industry has received much professional and technical support its considered mostly a hobby. Another challenge, from the customers perspective, is pricing and cost of cakes, people expect us to price our products as home bakers forgetting our dynamics are different and what we offer is different as well, market awareness and response to the industry is also a huge challenge.

What has surprised you about business ownership?

It takes much more than passion and every day is a whole new lesson, How much administrative work there is and how big the little things can become.

Are there enough resources for Women entrepreneurs in Mombasa?

There is potential but we haven’t explored and exhausted everything we have, I feel like the Mombasa woman is yet to get out and take the business world by storm, while there is a good number who are trying there is still a very huge number that is barred by one thing or another from venturing into business, another big challenge I find in Mombasa is people conform a lot, women need to learn that one can do anything and everything their put their mind to it, it takes believing in yourself and trying…one step at a time and before you know it you are flying.

You baked Ali Kiba’s wedding Cake, did you have any challenges preparing and delivering the cake and how did you overcome them?

There was so much expectation and I kept wondering what if I don’t meet all these expectation, also given the wedding would be aired on live TV all the way in Tanzania I felt I had taken the responsibility of representing Kenya in the East African Market and I had to make sure whatever I delivered represented who we are both as a country and as an individual…I put in my best, paid attention to detail and most of all prayed (I am firm believer in prayers) in addition I have an excellent team that is very cooperative and skiled, this as well helped to put together the cake and I believe we did a good job.

You do a lot of Marketing, from your experience what type of marketing works effectively in Mombasa?

I feel the Mombasa market isn’t mature yet in terms of exposure especially for the confectionery arts industry, we push a lot content on social media and radio. Radio is a good reach for Mombasa audience because a lot of people follow what is happening on Radio. Social media is also the most effective and cost friendly alternative to advertise.  Social media influencers such as vloggers, bloggers can really help in publicizing content.

Where do you see Cake Emporium ten years from now?

Cake Emporium is going to be big and we will change the game, take that to the bank. I see Cake Emporium at the helm of a global brand that originated out of Kenya, which is not a common occurrence! I am working on launching the Kenya Cake Artists Network which will be an association/network for all Kenyan cake decorators/artists to learn, grow and also promote their skills and talents to Africa and the world. It will also exist to set high standards of excellence in the Kenyan cake industry, there will be branches of our school opening in other parts of the country as well, lets just say 2018 has been our stating point but inshaa Allah we are going places.

Parting Shot

When starting a business research your market and target audience thoroughly before investing significant funds into any business. Get inside the mind of your target customers. Discover their problems, then conjure up solutions and think how to monetize those solutions. Lastly, be passionate about what you do. You will need it to help you get through the long days, sleepless nights and more.

 

 

Twaweza Live Medical Camp

Mombasa has a population of over 1.4 million according to recent census, with different kinds of people living in Mombasa.  Mombasa County includes the main Island and other connecting sub areas such a Likoni from the South Side and Nyali/Bamburi/Shanzu from the North side.  The multi-cultural people also categories in different economic status, which include the rich, middle class and lower class. Majority living below the poverty line, who can’t afford basic needs.

On the 27th July Safaricom (Twaweza Live) held a medical camp through the Safaricom Foundation, Safaricom Foundation invested in six community projects selected in different regions over the seven-month period, and conduct free medical camps in partnership with the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Centre and M-TIBA. The Initiative was to give back to Mombasa County more specific to the less privilege areas. The medical camp was held in Shanzu Mwembeni Bush area. The full day camp organized and conducted by Safaricom and Mombasa County registered over 2500 people.

The medical camp offered free optical, dental, diabetes and hypertension checks, also VCT, prostate and family check. A nutritionist was also present to give healthy eating options to the residents. The attendees were first registered, and then they proceed to check their weight and height. After that they proceeded to the various tests that they need, where some did all tests.  All results were given in real time, with serious cases referred to the suitable health facility. The event was also graced by Coast Artist Susumila, and from Naironi King Kaka, Mercy Masika and Njugush. The artists interacted with the attendees, and also took various test at the camp.

Many Mombasa residents suffer from different medical conditions most of them are not aware of their conditions due to lack of funds to do the test. This initiative assisted many residents in getting diagnosed and assisted in getting the right treatment for their medical issues. Life in Mombasa had the privilege of attending the event and interacting with the attendees, below are photos from the Medical Camp.


The Hijabee Nation High Tea

The first ever Muslim women High tea was held in Mombasa on 27th July, different muslim women from Mombasa attended the high tea at Travellers Beach Hotel.  The event hosted by Hijabee Nation, an initiative by Najma Mohamed and Sophie Ismail. The objective of the event is to bring together women from different walks of life to network but more or so to have a space to talk about issues that are affecting them.  Topics included:  life balance, staying positive, dealing with grieve and how to cope with every day struggles.

The event started at 5:30 with a word of prayer by Ustadha Hafswa and welcoming remarks by host Najma and Sophie.  Latifa Mbarak gave presentation on being true to yourself, and then Waffia Hamid and Nana Ali both psychologist gave a small talk on understanding your mind.  Zaynab Abdallah gave a chilling experience of how she dealt with loss of her husband and how she had to cope with it.  The last talk was with Ustadha Hafswa on strengthening your relationship with Allah. The forum ended with Q & A session and closing remarks from Najma and sophie.  People then proceeded to have tea and scrumptious cakes and snacks and a networking session with different attendees.

Most women who attended were grateful for the event because they had a space to talk about issues with fellow women and find suitable solutions to everyday life problems.  Najma  hopes that the future events will help many women open up and create a supportive system for Muslim women in Mombasa, her goals is  “To create a platform for Muslim women to connect, share experiences/challenges and find solutions together. It should be our support system, an event we look forward to for empowerment support and just offload.”

For future events follow on

Instagram:  Hijabee Nation 

Facebook:  Hjabee Nation

Sights from the High Tea:


30 Days of Nawal : Ramadhan Shopping at Nawal Centre

One of the most iconic shopping plaza in Mombasa is Nawal centre, located in Mwembe Tayari makes it the most tallest building in the area.  Opened in 2001, it has become the one stop shop for all household items.  Many people from around Mombasa visit Nawal Centre to furnish their homes and offices, with the convenience of location it makes it ideal.  The prices are also affordable without compromising quality. Today,

Nawal Centre has 7 floors, each floor dedicated to a specific category. There is wide range of products from Bath accessories, Stationery, Cosmetics, Materials and ladies accessories, Mommy & Baby store, Household items, Electronics, Curtains & Upholstery and Furniture. They bring products each month, making it easy to find variety of Products each visit.  Apart from the shopping, Nawal Centre has employed many youths in the community.  By creating job opportunities, they build the community and create economic empowerment. In addition, they take youths from local colleges on work placement who then stay on with permanent positions.

This Ramadhan, Nawal Centre has new campaign – “30 days of Nawal”.  The campaign is to allow people outside Mombasa to benefit from the deals at Nawal Center.  Each day, a deal is posted on the social media channels to allow buyers to order, purchase and be delivered to them. Online shoppers can order through the social media or the WhatsApp number.  So far the deals have included, Revolving cake stand, Bathroom set, Blender, Fruit Juicer, Pizza Maker and Deep Fryer. All items are selected based on the needs and demands of the shoppers.  In addition, to cater to the Eid shoppers Nawal center will be opening at night throughout the last 10 days of Ramadhan. Shoppers will be able to shop at the convenience time after breaking their fast.

Nawal Centre has helped the community; it is an iconic place to shop for most Mombasa residents. Shoppers find deals every day, but to appreciate loyal customers and all shoppers the Ramadhan offer is a great way to show it. For all the deals stop by Nawal Center and show us your purchase- tag @lifeinMombasa and @nawalcentre on Instagram.

Best County Blog

 

Hello,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for LifeinMombasa.com, may God Bless you abundantly. This is the third year in a row winning BAKE (Bloggers Association of Kenya) Awards- Best County Blog. In addition, I thank everyone who has supported me in every way you can, I am truly humbled. Thank you to my family, Friends, to Swahilipot Hub and Mombasa County for giving me opportunities.  Due to rules and regulations this is the last time the blog can win. Although, it is not about winning but showcasing Mombasa and the beauty around us. I am looking forward to many more years of creating content and showcasing our beautiful city of Mombasa.
Once again thank you so much!

Sincerely

Jammy

Jina langu ni Hussein Abdi Hussein

 

Your name and what do you do?

My name is Hussein Abdi Hussein. I am currently an accounts student at star Institute of Professionals undertaking my CPA course based in Mombasa. Apart from being a student, I am also an actor. I perform in plays; I have also been featured in some screen projects. I am an entrepreneur, the founder and the C.E.O of 254 WEAR.

Tell us about 254 Wear?

254 WEAR is my new venture where I make T-shirts with the Kenyan flag on the front of the T-shirt.

How and why did you decide to do the Kenya flag t-shirts?

The idea came along last year when we were heading to the general elections in Kenya in August. Around May when the political tension was high the idea came along so as to show patriotism and unity to preach peace among Kenyans. The idea was well received; thank God I have been able to export the T-shirts to Kenyans who are outside the country.

What challenges did you face?

One of the biggest challenges is when clients don’t pay for their T-shirts; I end up incurring a loss.  Another challenge is that most people don’t trust the quality hence making it hard to make sales, I have to deliver the T-shirt to them first before they do any payment.

What three major problems do you think young people face today?

Three Problems young people go through is:

  • Lack of funds to start up their business ideas
  • Lack skills for Business Management
  • Drug abuse

Many youths are unemployed and they don’t know what to do, how can they generate business ideas?

There a lot of ideas out there, one must do some research to find a business idea and how to launch the business. There are many ways to generate ideas, one way is to go online and do some research, also collaborate with others.

Are there enough resources for the youth to empower themselves?

There are many resources out there that they can access including Uwezo funds, and other seed funds from various organizations. I would advise the youth to keep searching online for such opportunity to be able to empower themselves.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I want to have a T-shirt brand that is selling all over the country and abroad. A name that people want to be associated with.

Parting shot

For any business idea one should be risk taker. One should be determined, disciplined and then success will follow.

Mombasa Shopping and Food Festival 2018

Mombasa is known for the rich culture and vibrant traditions; one of the most attractive part of Mombasa is the Swahili Food and the mix-culture cuisine. It’s not a trip to Mombasa without trying the Viazi via Karai and bhajiya to mshikaki and biriyani. The Swahili cuisine is a mixture of the different cultures that live in Mombasa, people have adapted each other’s cuisine into a unique mix-culture cuisine. And of course nothing brings people together than food. On the Easter Weekend the Mombasa County Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment held a Mombasa Shopping and Food Festival at Fort Jesus.
The food festival was aimed at bringing Mombasa visitors together during the Easter weekend to shop and sample some of our cuisine from the coast. The event was from Friday 30th March to 1st April at the street next to Fort Jesus from 11am to 11pm. A row of tents were set-up with different vendors occupying each tent to sell their food and products. Some of the food tents were street food vendors, restaurants and catering companies. There was a variety of food from the Swahili viazi via karai , bhajiya and sambusa. Also including matobosho, ndizi ya kupika, kababs. There was also vendors grilling chicken tikka, mishkaki, fish, and prawns and also restaurants selling Shawarma and juices. Mabuyus and acharis were also sold from different vendors. All the food vendors were provided with tables and chairs for customers to seat and savor the food. Other vendors included, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Kenya Association of Women in Tourism, Multi Choice and Major restaurants including Dormans, Tamarind Tree Hotel and A & F Foods Chicken Hub. Temptations Ice cream was there to give visitors something to cool off with during the heat. Two Up-coming jewelry designers also seized the opportunity – Wawuda Carol and Grace Kimaru occupied two stalls, they showcased their jewelry making skills by selling their own hand-made accessories. The was a few entertainers including cultural dance by Likoni Cultural Boys , ladies drums Kishuri and Kirumbizi (stick fight). Ladies who attended the event had the opportunity to adorn their hands and feet with beautiful henna. Craftsman were also not left behind as well, different souvenir vendors were also available selling different products from Kenya key chains to animal carvings and etc. Last But Not least there was the Kids corner, where games and bouncing castle was placed.
Although, this was the first of the series of Festivals in Mombasa it brought many people together. Mr. Fawzi Rashid, the new CEC for Mombasa County Department of Trade, Tourism and Investment shows promising leadership for the Mombasa tourism industry.

In a statement issued to Life in Mombasa he says:

“The idea of the festival was to market fort Jesus and old town and to show that we not only have some of the best beaches in the world, but also historical and cultural sites for the food vendors. We wanted to give our visitors a taste of our local dishes. Future festivals are on our priority list in different parts of Mombasa.
My message to Mombasa residents on tourism is that responsibility begins with us, the people of Mombasa, we are well known for our hospitality and kindness in welcoming our guests.
Through my extremely able department we are available any time as our doors are always open. We all need to work together to ensure we not only bring Mombasa to where it belongs but take it beyond.”

We look forward to marketing Mombasa, and changing the narratives of Mombasa.

Mombasa Shopping and Food Festival in pictures:

Serena Beach Resort and Spa Architectural, Cultural and Conservation Tour

Travelling is no longer just about the destination but more about travel experiences. Travelers look into experiences when booking their holiday. Staying at a hotel with no activity does not entice travelers, there must be in-house activities and out-door places to visit and things to do.  Many destinations have realized this and they create activities that cater to every age and interests. You will find hotels and cities creating experiences rather than promoting the destination alone.  Today, in Mombasa it is not about our white sandy beach, or the historical Old town or lounging on the resort the whole day. These no longer attract tourists, especially millennials they look for travel experiences. One of the resort creating experiences is Serena Beach Resort and Spa.  They have an Architectural, Cultural and Conservation Tour at the resort, where you learn about the idea behind the design and architect of Serena Beach resort including some history. The entire design is a replica of Lamu Historic city, inspired by the Swahili culture.

The architectural, cultural and conservation tour starts from the main gate, the narrow roads depicting the narrow alleys of Lamu.  Marsden, one of the tour guides will take you through from beginning to the end. He will show you the various Trees that are near the entrance, each tree with a different story and its uses from the Baobab tree (Mbuyu) to the Neem tree.  Some of them are over 50 years old at the resort. As you walk a little further, you will find a well, wells in Mombasa are still a source of water for many. In the old days, A bucket tied to a rope will be used to fetch the water, a person would throw the bucket all the way down and then pull it once it is filled with water. Before the entrance you will find a round about that is replica of Gede Ruins, Gede Ruins are the remains of a Swahili town located near Malindi. It origin traces to 12th Century.  As you enter the reception, you will find the Lamu door which leads into the resort.  Inside you will find a display of Swahili culture artifacts, the high beams which replicate Swahili House making it cool during the heat. The interiors designed with Swahili culture in mind, carving that reflects on the Arab and Swahili infusion of the cultures.


As you enter into the reception lounge and walk towards the resort, you will be welcomed by Swahili coffee and Haluwa (snack), the furniture and design inspired by the Swahili culture of wooden chairs and lesos.  The next tour stop is the Sokoni The Market Place Restaurant, also inspired by Swahili culture and an old style market. The tables covered in Leso (with various sayings) and products that showcase the Swahili way of life.  After that, the tour continues with walk around the buildings and alleys. Each way marked by the name of city in Lamu, this includes Pate way, Siyu Street and Lamu Street. As you continue walking, you will find small alleys that replicate the ones in Lamu town and rock walls that also showcase the ruins which are made of coral stones. In the middle of the gardens, a minaret stands tall. Lamu being a Muslim dominated city, you will find a lot of minarets of Mosques in various areas. This Minaret tower tower surrounded by a star and crescent has its origin in the famous tower of the Friday Mosque of Shela in Lamu.  The tour also includes a stop at Old Swahili market place, with stone benches that were used to by old men to play board games or drink Swahili Coffee (Kahawa Chungu).


As you reach the seafront, you will be introduced to the Turtle conservation project. The project has been in existence for over 20 years, they have released over 44,000 hatchlings into the sea. The project turned fisherman from poachers to protectors by buying eggs instead of them selling it off.  On the beachfront you will find the walk-in chess board based on the Theme: “Marine Life Vs Life Cycle of a Butterfly”. The theme is based on Serena’s conservation projects .The chess pieces have been made out of recycled flip-flops that are found littered on beaches and in the various waterways of Kenya.  As the tour gears toward the end, you will visit Jahazi Grill which resembles a dhow.  The design and interior was made to give you the feeling of an old dhow, with their main cuisine being Seafood. The tour ends with a grand finale, which is the Moon Fountain. The circle is reflection of the moon, on a full moon night you can see the moon clear from the benches on the side. Marsden will end the tour by offering a cold Coconut (Madafu) to quench the thirst after a long tour.


The tour is about 45 minutes to one hour, with enough time to ask questions and enquiries. All the tour guides are well knowledgeable. This is just one of the activities at Serena Beach resort and spa; you will find different activities to your interest. The tour is to give resort residents a glimpse of the idea behind the resort and inspiration. The tour is also to acknowledge and honour the Swahili culture and its significance in the coast. The tour is a great starting point for guest wanting to know about the Swahili culture before going into Fort Jesus and old town to learn about history of Mombasa and coast. To go on the tour email: mombasa@serena.co.ke

Watch the video for more sights and sounds: