The man who finds treasure in trash
1 months ago, 17 Oct 13:30
By 5am, when many people are still sleeping, David Njuguna is usually already up and about, scavenging from dustbins and dumping sites at Engineer Town, in Nyandarua County, for items he can recycle.
After years of rummaging in dustbins, Mr Njuguna has mastered locations and dump sites that he must visit daily as they have the type of waste he requires.
He specifically looks for reusable papers, including old newspapers, and items such as hooves, horns, bones, egg shells, grass, and pieces of wood and discarded logs.
After collecting these raw materials, he joins his wife Emma Muthoni at their curio shop, which they also use a workshop for creating pieces of art.
At the back of the shop is a small store packed with dry banana fibres, old tyres, pieces of wood, plastics, old sisal sacks, and other junk that David collects.
He uses these materials to produce sculptures, carvings, church candles, mouldings, tables, and other interior and outside decorative items.
He earns a decent living and his work has enabled him to visit more than five countries, and earned him recognition, he says.
“I have participated in exhibitions in all East African countries where I also won several awards, including modern drilling equipment. What entices most people is fact that my products are of high quality,” David says.
But life was not always this easy for David and his family.
He was born in 1970, and he moved to Nairobi in 1991 after completing his secondary education at Magomano Secondary School. He worked in slaughterhouses.
MY WORK, MY JOY
Ten years later, he tried his hand at drawing but realised the field was too competitive and required a good capital for quality materials.
He then tried his luck in carvings, and making crosses and other religious items used by the Catholic Church using recycled materials. He then started making pieces of art for interior decoration using the same materials.
With time, he perfected his art and got contracts with various hotels, which enabled him to raise sufficient capital to start the curio shop in Engineer Town. His wife is the sales manager at the shop.
“I can say that my initial capital is the Sh100 I used to buy the glue, but my entire venture is today worth more than Sh3 million, inclusive of the equipment, all from the waste materials collected from dustbins and dumping sites,” David adds.
He says his best piece was one he made for a local hotel, only spending Sh150 for a piece of plywood and Sh100 glue. He then used banana fibres and pieces of clothes to make the art. David made the item within two days and sold it for Sh4,000.
“The biggest challenge here is marketing, I made a similar art piece for a Nairobi hotel and charged them Sh15,000 for it. From the [recycled] garbage, I have constructed a permanent house at a cost of Sh2.5 million. I used the same [recycled] waste to educate my ...
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