Charles O. is 49 years old, and is living with HIV within the Kibera slums of Nairobi. He is married and has two wives, one living with him in Kibera, and the other living with his aging mother back in his home village in Busia District, in the Western Province of Kenya. In total Charles has 11 children, two of which with his first wife, now deceased. Three of his children - all daughters - are married, but the other 8 children, together with his wives and his mother all depend on him.
Charles started his hotel in 1999, after he got some savings money from his grocery shop, still in Kibera. He did this in order to diversify his business, and he has continued to run both businesses since. He works together with his wife in this business, and has also employed two employees to assist with the workload. Some of the favorite foods that he serves in his hotel include mandazi (similar to doughnuts), chapatti (a kind of unleavened bread made from wheat flour), beef stew, fish, ugali (A paste made from a mixture of maize meal and water), beans and githeri (made from a mixture of maize and beans boiled together then fried). Charles is a member of the Agape group of Action Now Kenya, within the Kibera slums, and has so far received loans of $57 and $85, which he used to buy stock for his hotel. Charles also received $115 from his group, which he used to buy 2 bags of cement and sand to plaster the walls of the hotel for better presentation. Charles has also been trained by ANK on living with HIV/AIDS, and has learnt about small business management and operation, together with loan management.
Given the loan of $225, which is repayable within a period of 8 – 14 months, Charles intends to completely refurbish his hotel by fabricating a new set of chairs and tables which will be designed to save space through the sitting arrangement. This will be the first phase where two tables, with six seats each, will be fabricated. Once the loan is repaid, he intends to borrow an additional loan to make another two tables, to ensure that he has a sitting capacity of 24 people at any one time. Currently his hotel can only sit about 10 customers, yet he feels that there is space to accommodate more people. Through this support, Charles will be assured of additional income, due to the extra business created through the sitting arrangement in the hotel. Charles also hopes that in future as the business continues to expand, his hotel will create additional job opportunities for more people within the Kibera slums. He also intends in future on expanding by buying a television set and video machine, through which to attract more customers, and to also provide some educational information for his customers.