At a corner, in the city of Indiana, United States stands a private company, well known for its quality cleaning services. The chief executive officer who prefers to be called by her name by her employees happily signs a cleaning contract with the managing director of New York Furniture stores. The business has a humble beginning. On February 22rd 1981, a cry was heard from the hut of Jane Wambui and Ken Wamae; it was the cry of a newborn baby.
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They happily named her Abeba Abreha, she was the sixth born in a family of eight. Villager celebrated the new member they prophesied greatness to her. As the tradition of the Kenyan family demanded, the toddler was booked for marriage after two days.
At the age of four, Abeba Abreha had grown wise enough that she enrolled in nursery school. The family could not afford a high-class school, thus she was enrolled in a government-sponsored school about three hundred meters from their home. Abeba’s father was a small-scale farmer and the mother was a homemaker. By the time Abeba finishing her nursery school, she had two other sisters. In the African country, Kenya, elections are conducted every five years. They have for sometimes being known for violence, mostly among the Kikuyu’s, the dominant tribe in the country, and the Luo’s, the second-largest tribe which has support from other 40 small tribes in the country. Abeba was a Kikuyu.
It was a day before Christmas, and about two months to Abeba’s seventh birthday when a tribal crisis erupted in their locality. It was a night that remains well remembered by Abeba how her father was cornered by a supporter of the then President Daniel koi and was killed in cold blood. Life was never the same again for the family. The mother barely had a course, or any employee to support the family. According to the tradition of the tribe, Kikuyu’s, a woman was not supposed to inherit or own property thus the piece of land that the late father had used to support the family was to be given back to the husband brothers. They were expected to hold it in trust for Abeba’s three brothers.
The mother took the bulls with its horns to raise the family but it was not easy without any support or employment. She depended on casual works around the village like washing and digging. When Abeba was in standard seven, she would assist her mother to perform home duties and sometimes go to work with her. After class eight, Abeba performed fairly well however, the mother could not afford school for her. It was decided that she should be married off to the man who had booked her at the age of two days. He was a wealthy man with old enough to be Abeba’s father. He had seven other wives. Politely Abeba approached her mother and asked whether it would be advisable if she was to look for a house help job in their locality and assist her to bring up the two little siblings. Her mum reluctantly accepted.
When working at the chief’s house, she got wind of how the green card lottery had assisted many people in the locality. People came for advice from the chief and he learned that there was a way that she can get to the United States with her level of education. When he was paid his sixth-month salary, he bought the Sunday newspaper for once in her life and applied for the lottery. Fate was with her, she won the lottery six months later. When she got the letter of invitation, another problem came up, how she would finance her fare. She consulted her employer, who had liked her. The employer, who happens to the chief organized fundraising for Abeba, fortunately, the fundraising was able to collect enough money for fare and accommodation in the United States for about one week.
When at the airport in the United States, she could feel the great burden placed by the locality on her shoulders. With her work permit, she consulted an employment bureau where she placed her curriculum Vitae. She was willing to take any job that comes along. After three days, she got her first job as a cleaner at Helen Sarah’s house. It was to take three hours a day. After performing her duties, he talked to her neighbors; Sarah had housed her at servant’s quarters, who agreed to offer her part-time cleaning jobs. They liked her cleaning and in three months, she was in high demand that she could not handle them.
She created some time and started attending English classes, which were offered free. On one Sunday afternoon, when she was coming from church, her boss, asked why she had not thought of establishing her own cleaning company in the locality. This lingered her mind since several people whom she had worked for had asked her the same.
The following year, January 1, 2000, she opened a cleaning service called flower-cleaning services Company with her savings and support from Helen. The company grew to what it is today which a total of 1300 employees and over 100 companies who have contracted it.
The business motto is “Never look down a humble beginning”.