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David Kimani, a Kenyan-born entrepreneur based in the US, is taking the Birmingham, Alabama food scene by storm with a unique food truck business.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US in early 2020, Kimani’s family was able to acquire a truck and after a year of planning, they finally opened for business in May last year.
Dubbed Sahani, the truck restaurant serves authentic Kenyan dishes such as Nyama Choma, Ugali, Mukimo, Matumbo, Chips Masala, Chapo Smokie, among others. The menu also includes foods more common among Americans like burgers, quesadillas, and Philly cheesesteaks.
“It started as a dream and turned into reality,” Kimani told Alabama NewsCentre.
“Traditionally, Nairobi foods include a lot of rice and stew, but there is a wide range of different foods and flavors our culture has to offer,” he added.
Sahani, which means a plate in Swahili, mainly operates in downtown Birmingham, but can also be found on Green Springs Highway on some days of the week as well as at various events around the city.
Kimani moved to Alabama from Kenya with his parents and brother when he was four, growing up in Homewood, and later living in Fultondale and Hoover. The 24-year-old University of Alabama alumnus says his parents taught him the importance of a strong work ethic and education from a young age.
“I saw my parents work days and nights doing odd jobs to make sure my brother and I had all we needed, so from a young age it was instilled in me to always work hard for what I wanted,” he said.
“The main reason we came to the US was for the education of my brother and me, so that was evident in how I did in school. Starting me off in a top school system here in Birmingham, I was able to go to a great university, get a great degree, and eventually get a great job.”
Kimani, a data analyst for Alabama Power, joins a growing wave of young, minority entrepreneurs who are making an impact on the vibrant food and culture landscape in Birmingham.
“Being a young entrepreneur, it is great to feel the support not only from other local food truck owners, but also from people in the community. We have a lot of room to grow, but I also thank God every day for his timing and take each day as it comes,” he said.
So brother Kimani, you got a great degree in data analyst just to become a cook? Sorry, am a little bit slower than other mwakilishians. I didn’t know you had to be an engineer to become a cook in majuu. Hapa kwetu maai mahiu you don’t need a degree
This is America - You are a typical Kenyan who places too much ego on titles and fail to realize the nobility of work. Majuu tuko tofauti, hapa kazi ni kazi! We have people who have gone to school to become doctors but ultimately choose to drive trucks or start small businesses. You need to get out of that cave you are in
Food truck is part time biz. Hard job yes especially during bad weather. No job is despised majuu.
Think outside that collusion box. Entrepreneurs come in all degrees including non degrees. You too can be an entrepreneur if you want, but first stop yourself from colluding against yourself.
This is the Kenyan mentality by black Africans that you can only do certain jobs because you hold certain n academic qualifications! This boy with a mr collision name is seriously confused just like that two head on Matatu collision.
The very funny and strange thing is this ignorance boy would certainly be asking this entrepreneur for some cash! It is really bad to be stupid!
Given that the average food truck can bring in $250 to $500k in revenue, what's with the madharau? If he keeps half of that, he is still in better shape financially than the majority not just in Kenya or the US but duniani. He is self employed and not depending on you or me for anything. Why can't you just be happy he has his own business doing something he likes and bringing joy and introducing Alabamians to something new? Titles are nice but being a business owner is even better.
Mr.Collusion, una akili nyingine umeweka mahali ama ni hii tu? 1st it's clearly stated that he's a Data Analyst at Alabama power...!2nd,in America ile ujinga iko Kenya eti "ooh, I'm a degree holder I can't do this bla...bla...bla..." haipo!Huku, anything that brings a $ more to your pocket is a good job! Anyway, utajuaje na umezaliwa 'Mai Mahiu', ukasoma huko, ukaoa huko, and probably utakufa na uzikwe huko? This mentality is wanting! And anyway,what the heck is so wrong with being a cook? It doesn't cost a thing kufikiria before you comment!
You idiot ‘collusion head’, who told you he doesn’t have another job? He is a data analyst. The topic of this original post is about his food truck business. OR did you want mwakilishi to also tell you where he is practicing or working data analytics? Shallow mind, typical or unexposed myopic thinking!
The article says he is a data analyst for alabama power you moron!So this looks like a side job. You are so stupid and full of shit. Do you know most of the NBA players have college degrees that they don't use? College education has definitely made Kimani a better entrepreneur.
🤣🤣Mr Collution Mbona unachoma hivyo bro.Life ya majuu inakuwanga hoax or big lie mr.But atleast this 24 yd amenjikakamua to start his bizness instead ya kuandikwa uwe mtumwa.When I visited usa this year I will pass via Alabama to taste the food.Kograts kijana mzee
Who is your mother kid! You really can’t be that stupid n real life! You are probably a thief; aren’t you?
We don't know that he is in debt since scholarships do exist. You may not have noticed but he does have a job. At his age, this is commendable. He grew up hapa hapa so moving to Maī Mahiū is unlikely no matter how enticing cooking or roasting some maize by the side of the road for you might be. If my child chooses this road, I will offer my support financially and otherwise rather than make clucking noises of disapproval.
Wee mimi staki pesa yako. Mafuti will cater for me. Donate under this name: mr collusion to your charity of choice
Where did I offer you one thin dime? Hii mambo ya ufahamu imekuweza kidogo. Let me lay it out for you in simple terms. The only person getting any money from me is my grandfather's 2nd son's 3rd son's only child. Baba was the the 2nd son and I am the 3rd son. You don't fit anywhere in that line of succession.
This guy is nuts! I think his brain might have collided with something toxic! Does he know how much the food industry earns in a vast country like US? He feels kuchoma mutura in mai mahio is better than kuichoma majuu! This illiteracy is the cause of high unemployment in Kenya and Africa at large! Being choosy as if one can serve that degree as food for his family! What a disappointment!?!
A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
Mr Collusion has the comprehension skills of a warthog. What part of "Kimani, a data analyst for Alabama Power" escaped your foggy brain?
Everything escapes this fool weak mind! I think he is way doped up! He sounds so stupid that no one can help him!
Kudos, Well done bro. I will definitely sample the Kenyan delicacies you on offer next time I am in B’ham, Bama
I know there will be a bunch of nonsense comments based on jealousy over this brother's success but "hongera ndugu Kimani".
It is pure wivu! Can you afford to buy that food truck know it all poor boy!? Are you able to buy lollipop for your numerous kids from every corner of Kenya? You should be ashamed arguing a stupid point to show your dummy state of mind!
What do you do lad? Don’t tell me you are one of the kenya University graduates tarmacking every where in Nairobi looking for a white color job. Use this guy’s idea and start something for yourself wherever you are! Shinda nini? Wacha upuzi!
Agnes. You are right I can’t buy even lollipop. I do mafuti it’s my career. Mafuti is kulima kwa shamba za wenyewe 15x15. Siunitumie dollar ninune lori kama hiyo since uko na pesa?
Mr. Collusion I agree you are slow just stay in Mai Mahiu. The article says he is a Data analyst for Alabama Power. Nothing wrong with a brother having a side gig. What's wrong with being a cook?
Congratulations to Kimani!!! Operating any food service business is a daunting tasks. Everything falls on the owner. One is responsible for food inventory, food quality to people management to keeping customers happy. Great experience all in one. Anyone who ventures into this food service industry is brave because it takes years to break even and even longer to make profit. Whoever is in Alabama support this brother.
Lies traditionally Nairobi foods do not include a lot of rice dishes obviously no market research was done.Are you serving authentic matumbo or the bleached kind which has no taste.Website na picha iko wapi you know wht they say about getting your food from a food truck that may not be there the next day
😂😂😂.. Mr. Collution, you walked right into that one and made yourself a target.
Congrats Kimani, the rest of us in the 🇺🇸 know what it's like to start in one place and make a living in another. It's hard work and an honest livelihood.
Tausi mimi sina shida hata. Wakininiletea I fight back. You got to fight you can’t be weak lol
Well done my brother! I can see some thicket here calling himself collision,indeed you are too slow for this world so keep to your mai mahiu lanes.
Carry on Kimani! The eyes of a frog won’t stop cows from drinking in a stream. Nakuririo ni andu tikuririo ni Hiti! Your business can grown to be a huge food chain in America!
Only in America good things and bad things can happen in equal measure!
Yours Kimani is a very good thing!
Your name first betrays you. Your attitude is so dangerous that generations and generations will be jobless as they stay waiting for dream jobs which never come in practice. So you are very ignorant. You don't know that more than 80% of successful people are not doing their dream jobs. Wake up. Instead of encouraging people to venture in anything that can bring money, you write such a discouraging statement!! School system is supposed to build up on talents of students but is never the case on the ground.
Let us all encourage Kimani for his creativity and any other person willing to come up.
Encourage yourself before upate gutu ama rust. Why would anyone need other people encouragement? Go rust if you want my encouragement
Congratulations! Kimani and Fam,
As much as some may not comprehend the importance of the work you are doing for our community, know that it is necessary and a blessing. The comfort food you serve and the nostalgia will do more than nourish the body, it will heal the soul that longs for home and cannot go, it will introduce our culture through food just like other immigrants have done (e.g Pizza, Bagel, Pretzel, Taco, Chow Mein etc.,) and will most of all support busy families as the pursue their dreams! Hongera! #demistifyafrica
I know several Kenyans who have graduated decades but does jobs unrelated with their professinal training, including me. Am in the food industry and there isnt anything from my professional training that has got me where iam now. So young man go toich the skys. The country your were born gotta grown men who are enemies to their own mothers
For those with stupid n thick mentality of degrees need to know you bring your own food to the table nomatter what direction not from the pile of books.
Congratulations Mr. Kimani! Keep it up and never relent. This is evidence that Dreams are truly valid!
Love you Mr. Collusion and my fellow Commentors.. I'm convinced more than ever that Kenyans have truly mastered the art of "Word battles". Enjoyed reading the award winning insults and 'Cool' responses from Mr. Collusion...Life is too short, let's have fun. Don't take things too seriously.. Laugh a little. Also, proud of the young Entrepreneur.
Great job Kimani. Keep it up. Kenya needs people who can think out of the box. I see you developing into a restaurant chain in the very near future.