THE SPOTLIGHT IS ON MAGENDA MOIGUAH: THE LADY BOSS WITH THE SMALL CHOPS

In a very modern world where women’s rights are human rights, we often downplay the strides that humans take regardless of their gender to do what they love, what they enjoy and perhaps more logically what puts food on the table. Many of us desire the life portrayed in famous sitcoms, or as played out in Netflix series and reality shows. We keep desiring what appears to be the beautiful life – led by celebrities. Ever so often within the process of adulation, what we fail to recognize and learn from is the trailer of their everyday lives that hosts ‘the behind the scenes’. This could very well be the most crucial of lessons that may support our everyday decisions, for it  includes the heart ache that comes with success, the physical labour, the mental drain and intense hours that these ‘Stars’  put up with to ensure that the glamour never goes out of style.

No one is here to abolish the trail of  goodness that the new media blesses us with, however while we admire the host of game changers that it presents, we must not forget to watch those everyday humans that are heroes themselves. We all have these heroes living right besides us, eating alongside us, offering us invaluable goods and services for which we often take for granted or not wanting to be extreme, we barely ever consider.

The story that you are reading is not a one- size fits all. It could be a hit or miss for some people and for others it’s simply atrocious that someone would choose hard work and integrity over quick gains. Whatever side you may choose at the end of this tale, our hope is that it brings you some reflections of how you can honour labour, respect the hustle and strive to pay for goods and services with love and gratitude.

Who do you think of when you hear these two words taxi and driver? Be honest – no fancy coated thoughts allowed. Maybe we could help colour your imagination further by sharing what a small poll of  people told us. They said that taxi and driver brought to them interesting memories of  adventure  –  with adjectives such are rogue, unqualified, drop out, misfit, immigrant, retired etc. Sadly most people do not consider this for what it is: one of the most lucrative professions, they fail to realise that this career is reserved for a more varied and skilled but selected group of people than most people dare to recognise.  Most times, the taxi trade comes with the perks of self- employment and the ability to organize one’s time well. Maybe this was among the reasons why we were piqued by a Facebook post shared by a happy female taxi driver with portfolio careers. She isn’t only driving to care for herself but her entire family, which includes her three children and mother. This bubbly and customer service oriented business woman is also catering for the food needs of many Sierra Leoneans in Freetown and it’s environs. She fondly calls her food service’ small chops’ – from tiny snacks that are homemade with love to full blown meals that fed many homes during Easter and most recently Iftar.

Magenda Moiguah, grew up in Bo in the southern part of Sierra Leone. She only relocated to Freetown to further her education after taking the West African Senior School Certificate  Examination (WASSCE)  were she got four (4) credits and one pass including her area of interest ( foods and nutrition, home management and clothing and textile. ) Generally most of the Universities requires at least 5 credits, for several reasons including finances it would have been an extra hassle to resit those exams.  She was determined that this would not mark the end of her career, this led her like many others to the capital city – Freetown with the intention of pursuing either a certificate or diploma course. By some stroke of luck, a friend shared some vital information that would literally change her life forever. Firstly she explored the field of human resources at LICCSAL  Business College and eventually enrolled at The N’jala University, where they accepted her grades based on her intended choice of study. Just like a dream come true the food lover who wanted to be a nutritionist was enrolled to follow her deep passion for the culinary arts and nutrition.

Fast forward to  today, she reached her goal and unconventionally she has set the bar as to what it means to be one of few female taxi drivers in Sierra Leone. Magenda says that she chose to be a taxi driver not because she was jobless or uneducated. On the contrary she chose this profession because she wanted to be self- employed and independent. She told us during the interview ‘I love doing my own business, I don’t want to be dependant on a man or anyone to pay my bills. I want to be a self made billionaire’.

She made this decision after suffering several dissatisfaction with the remuneration set up at her places of employment.

What started off as a hugely successful yogurt business helped her with saving for the future. Smiling, she told us that she had always admired people in the transportation business and had even shared with a friend that she would one day own a taxi. Thankfully, this friend advised her about the dangers of reckless and unreliable drivers who often create problems for taxi owners. That was when she made up her mind that in order to do well in the transport industry, she must first become a driver herself.  Magenda says she was discouraged by many people. Some said she wouldn’t be able to because of her body size- ‘can’t you see that you are too fat’? Other’s said that it wasn’t the best of professions for women but she refused to listen to them.

She said ‘I was determined and focused. Enrolled for driving lessons, paid for 30 hours and by the grace of God within two weeks I was able to learn as much as I can. I bought a second hand taxi and boom!!! I started my business’.

Magenda’s is very detailed and eager to please her customers, a trait she claims runs in the DNA. ‘I am constantly motivated by my mama. I didn’t grow up in a working class family , I grew up in a business oriented family especially my mother, ‘me mama na jack of all trade and master of ALL ‘ She navigated her way from one business to another business varying from being a baker, cook on to a trader . She used to travel from one place to an other buying and selling goods. My mother was everything in the family , so I think I inherited my business skills from her.

We at Ariana Diaries can attest to her exemplary costumer service- it can be rated as very good, maybe it’s best we leave you to find out yourself right?  Our lady Boss as we have nicknamed her loves feedback. Very often, she would ask about her service or the quality of her food. She relishes the opinions of others and has discovered the trick to sustainable business that the customer might not always be RIGHT but the customer is KING.

Most customers have grown to her repeated requests for feedback, especially after delivering the famous small chops, she would frequently ask “ how the taste? Waitin nor do? Waitin for add or waitin for reduce? U satisfy with the portions?

Interestingly she has a way of translating this same good attitude to her taxi customers (who are often shocked when they realise that she is a Woman). Magenda is known for calming them down like a mother hen with her chicks. Here’s a typical banter that will ensue ‘ relax make u enjoy ride u go always wish for load na me taxi and on drop off, I will ask them of I will ask them how was it? With a smile they we tell me to keep up the good work’.

Magenda has a vivid vision of how her story can influence positively the lives of many girls and women in Sierra Leone and beyond. She hopes to become a renowned leader in the industries that she serves and desires her own fleet, driven by women. We believe in this dream and urge our readers who may be interested to get in touch with our lady Boss. Here’s someone with the heart for business and an enterprising soul that brings a refreshing twist to what’s possible!

Ride with Magenda or put in for your small chops by dialing: +23278028711 or connecting via facebook:https://www.facebook.com/magenda.moiguah

Written by: arianadiaries

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