If these entrepreneurs can build successful businesses in Africa, you can do it too!
Until he was 14, Henri Nyakarundi didn’t know he was a refugee.
His family had fled to Burundi following the growing tensions in Rwanda that eventually led to the ugly 1994 genocide.
From an early age, Henri had always fantasized about living in the United States and chasing the American Dream. For him, the US was his life’s ultimate lottery ticket and nothing else mattered. He wanted to leave Africa as quickly as he could.
In 1996, shortly after re-sitting his high school exams, the opportunity came — he was finally granted a US visa. In July that year, he was on a plane bound for the US, the land of his dreams.
A few weeks ago, Henri reached out to me with his memoir, My African Dream. I had stumbled on his name before but I didn’t quite know what to expect from the book. An attempt to distract myself to sleep by skimming through the book around 10:30 p.m. that night turned out to be a gripping experience that held me hostage until about two in the morning.
After spending ten years in America — a period that included some jail time, being homeless, and eventually building a very successful trucking business — Henri packed his bags and headed back home to Africa.
Why would anyone leave the US, especially after having got a taste of the elusive American Dream? In his book, Henri gives a brutally honest and inspiring account of how he chased, reached, and ultimately traded in the American dream he craved since childhood for an African dream that has totally surprised him.
Since he returned to Africa, he has built a remarkable technology business that thrives in Rwanda, a country that — just like Henri — has risen from the ashes to become a sensational and inspiring African success story.
In this exciting interview, Henri talks about some of the most important lessons on his journey from chasing the American dream to building an African dream. He also dishes out powerful and eye-opening advice to entrepreneurs and people in the diaspora looking to succeed in business on the continent.
This is certainly one of the best interviews I’ve done in a long time.
Here’s the full text:
As a young person, you were very eager to leave Africa to chase the American dream in the USA. How did that go?
Well, that is the whole premise of the book actually. I was very naive about what the United States was all about. The USA ended up being the hardest country I ever lived in.
My favorite show growing up in Burundi was the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and I thought everyone in the USA lived like that. When I moved there, I was in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time I saw homeless people in America. I had to call my mum to tell her about it; that is how shocked I was.
I struggled a lot in the States — I was homeless at some point, spent two days in jail — but I also learned a lot. I went there as a boy and living in the USA made me a man. All the challenges I encountered made me who I am today.
But the fundamental lesson I learned living in America is that wherever you go, you will find challenges; they may be different but no country is perfect.
For example, the race issues that exist in the USA were a shock to me. But I did not quit, I kept fighting for my dream of being an entrepreneur. It took 10 years for me to build my first successful business in the US, yet I was not fulfilled as a person.
Snail Farming in Nigeria
Snail farming in Nigeria is very popular mainly for it’s delicious taste. Snail has a huge demand in the market of Nigeria for it’s unique taste and nutrition value. Snails also has a huge global popularity. Snail meat contain a high amount of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and very low in fat.
Another reason of snail farming business in Nigeria is it’s economic value. Some people consider the snail farming in Nigeria as a good money spinning venture. You can make good earning from snail farming within a very short time.
Advantages of Snail Farming in Nigeria
The main benefits of snail farming in Nigeria are listed below.
- Snails are hermaphroditic in nature and highly reproductive. Both male and female reproductive organs are available in each snail. As a result the snails can reproduce very fast.
- One snail can lay eggs 6 time in a year. Each time they lay more than 80 to 100 eggs.
Snail meat is better than any other red meat. And it is enriched with highly nutrition ingredients. Snail meat is high in iron, protein, calcium and phosphorus and very low in cholesterol, sodium and fat. As a result, snail meat is highly recommended by the dietitians and doctors for the patients and general people. Snail meat is very delicious and widely popularly accepted all over the Nigeria. And there is no religious or tribal taboo consuming the snail meat. Snail has a great market all over the Nigeria and in the West African regions. The business tasks related to snail farming in Nigeria like financing, producing, servicing, processing, sorting, transporting and marketing can make a great sector of employment of unemployed people. Domestic snail farming in Nigeria can meet up the family nutrition demands.
Commercial snail production can decrease the importation of frozen meat or fish from the foreign country. This can save money and make the economy of Nigeria strong. Through widely commercial snail farming in Nigeria, some extra income can be made along with meeting up the national demand. Establishing a snail farm in Nigeria by using modern technologies, require less capital investment and produce much within a very short period. Running costs also very low. Risk of losses are less compared to other types of livestock farming system. Every parts of snail body is usable. You can make ten times more profit from snail farming in Nigeria within a year without any risk. Snail farming is not time consuming and there are no stress, odour, noise and irritation. You can easily do snail farming business with your current occupation.
Steps for Starting Snail Farming in Nigeria
For starting snail farming in Nigeria, you have to go through some step by step process. I have described some steps here for starting commercial snail farming business in Nigeria.
Suitable Environment for Snail Farming in Nigeria
Generally snails are easily dehydrated. Dryness occurs in snails due to moisture loose in snail. Wind increase the rate of moisture loose in snails. So, select a suitable location for establishing snail farm. For preventing the snails from losing water form their body quickly, you have to place the snail house (snaileries) in wind protected environment. An area with many trees can make perfect environment for snail farming in Nigeria.
Suitable Soil for Snail Farm
Soil is the main habitat of snail. For successful snail farming in Nigeria, the selected land for this business must have to contain some of the components and chemical substances which are necessary for surviving the snails. For this reason, all types of soil are not suitable for commercial snail farming. The shell of the snail is mainly calcium and they derive most of the calcium from the soil. They drink water from the soil and also lay eggs on the soil. For successful farming you must have to select a such suitable place with availability of all types of necessary facilities for the snails. The selected soil must contain all the above elements. But be very careful. Keep proper balance. Never let the soil to become waterlogged, too dry and the soil will not be acidic. Always avoid the clayey and acidic soil. Sandy-loamy soil with low water holding capacity is perfect for snail farming in Nigeria.
Buy Some Fresh Snails
After making suitable environment and selecting suitable land for snail farming in Nigeria, it’s time to buy some fresh quality snails from the market or any farm. But some snail farming expert say that, getting some snails directly from the forest instead of purchasing from market make good result in production. Because, the collected snails from forest can easily adopt themselves with the new environment than the farm snails. If you are not able to collect some snails from forest, you can collect some snail from the bush through a very simple technique. During rainy season clear a little portion of land and sprinkle spicy fruits there like banana, pawpaw, plantain or pineapple. Suppose you have done this process at 5 pm in the evening. Then go back there after 2 or 3 hours. Collect all the snails gathered the place. Repeat the process until you get sufficient amount snails for your farm. There is an another way of getting some fresh snails. Try to get some snail eggs littered in the market where it is sold. While collecting, check the fertility of the eggs. Because some eggs lost fertility because of the exposure to sunlight. Then put the eggs inside a container containing wet sand and covered with cocoyam leaf. Within 21-28 days those eggs would hatch into baby snails. Start feeding the baby snails. Gradually they will grow up and then you can start snail farming in Nigeria.