It’s amazing how far I have come; and the journey gets ever more interesting…
I was born in Boruma village in Kisii County, Kenya, the sixth (a middle child), in a tidy bunch of ten. This is the position where one is sandwiched between the bullies ahead, and the parent’s pets behind. So you know; when a chicken is cooked, you only get the neck or one wing and if lucky – the liver! I developed a taste for chicken wings that has stayed with me! You may overhear one parent asking the other (about me), “what’s the name of this child?” Being a child in no-mans-land can make you deeply introspective – you need to believe that a higher power knows your name and that one day, you will get the drumstick! From a young age, I knew that I had to develop serious survival instincts or perish! I have throughout my life dabbled in a variety of initiatives and projects and I believe that is what has determined my fascination with products natural.
My father was a civil servant and worked in different districts in the Coast province of Kenya. We were exposed to a whole range of environments including the savannah, the Tana river basin (as the river meandered from upcountry on its way to the sea), the coastal climate, as well as all things oceanic when we lived, a short walk from the sea, on Mombasa Island.
The times spent on evening walks, eating roasted chilli cassava, chilli maize and baobab at the Sea front; walks on the beach, barefoot, following the sunset is the stuff dreams are made of! We interacted with people from the various local coastal and ‘upcountry’ communities and attended quite a number of primary schools. We learnt to co-exist with wildlife which was plenty around Voi, jump over snakes on the way to school… and witness a bit of the coastal witchcraft!!
Our home was warm and full of song and yes, noise and laughter!! We ate mostly vegetarian foods in alignment with the temperance teachings of our church that calls upon all to live as positive examples of God’s love and care. This includes taking care of our health and bodies.
From an early age, I had a passion for chemistry and experiments. During my high school years at the Kenya High School, I spent time mixing things, collecting frogs from the river at the Arboretum and dissecting them. That one could get a usable product like soap by mixing chemicals was simply amazing!
Being a Gemini, I am true to type. I was admitted to study Food Science and Technology at the University of Nairobi for my undergraduate studies and graduated with a Bsc in Agriculture. My mother was always suspicious about the type of agriculture I was venturing into knowing that I couldn’t dig to save my life! I worked briefly first as a bee researcher then as an animal production officer and later as a Commercial Banker for many years. My late father, an expert amplifier, told anyone who cared to listen that I was the (almost!) Governor of the Central Bank of Bank. It is with immense relief that I was not charged with impersonation.
Yet, my interest in chemistry was always alive.
For a side hustle, I had a manufacturing plant in my backyard from where I made detergents, hand-washing gels, sanitisers etc for corporates – A good business that was killed by the craze then around “focusing on core business and outsourcing the rest”.
My selected list of past moonlighting activities include: barley farming (a monumental failure) poultry (another failure) Matatu business, selling men’s socks and ladies clothes; procurement; running a molecular diagnostic laboratory – all very interesting and rewarding.
I have travelled extensively out of Kenya and visited farms, shops and factories that deal in organic/natural products. We have invested in knowledge and established credible supply chain partners and networks in the continent from whom we source raw materials.
All around us in Africa, there is a wealth of beneficial natural products that promote vibrant health. These include fresh water and air, sunlight; and plants and their products, essential oils, oils and essences. The raw materials used in our product formulations are authentic, certified organic or natural and carefully selected.
I sincerely thank my son and daughter, my sisters, mother, nephews and nieces, relatives, and my friends, my golf buddies and our designer for being the most supportive people ever!! Thank you all for being enthusiastic guinea pigs during the R&D and proof of concept stage; and for showing up for focus discussion groups and photoshoots probono! Thank you Lester Maranya and Laban Bwire for printing sample labels in places I would not dare visit on my own.
Blends of Nature was registered in 2001. Research on the products started in 2015 and the products have been certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
With our experienced advisory board and highly skilled technical team, we at Blends of Nature commit to continuous improvement and product range expansion for you.
I invite you to enjoy the amazing products that we have so thoughtfully and ethically crafted, for a beautiful you…, naturally!
Eunice Moraa Maranya