A funeral home isn’t a venture for the faint-hearted. It demands not just a compassionate spirit but also a resilient disposition to withstand the skeptics who propagate all sorts of baseless rumors about this potentially profitable enterprise. This article delves into the story of the individual behind the creation of Umash Funeral Home, now recognized as one of the nation’s premier funeral establishments.
The Tale of Mr. Njoroge Kamau, Narrated by us
The chronicle of Mr. Njoroge Kamau’s journey unfolds as follows:
Born a few years prior to Kenya’s attainment of independence, Njoroge Kamau hails from the Mount Kenya region. His upbringing was modest, raised by an unemployed single parent, an aspect that added further hardships to life. He discontinued formal education after reaching Class 7, compelled by a lack of finances, and opted to enroll in a carpentry program. Subsequently, he secured employment with the National Council of Kenya (NCCK) in Kangemi, where he toiled for a span of three years.
Later on, he enrolled at the Christian Industrial College in Pumwani, dedicating four years to his studies before eventually departing to embark on his entrepreneurial quest. His journey commenced with the establishment of a carpentry workshop, crafting a diverse array of furniture. Along this path, he made a pivotal decision to diversify into crafting caskets, ultimately becoming the inaugural African to obtain a license from the city council for this endeavor.
The Genesis of Umash Funeral Home
In a discussion on Citizen TV, Kamau revealed that his foray into crafting caskets was met with resistance, causing him to lose both friends and clients who doubted the feasibility of his vision. “This choice almost jeopardized my business. I forfeited friends and patrons. The production of coffins began overshadowing the furniture in the workshop. Gaining people’s acceptance is an arduous and protracted process. Let me tell you, I was only selling one or two caskets weekly initially. It took almost four years,” he recounted.
Yet, his unwavering determination propelled him forward. Over time, he obtained a license to operate a funeral service, a feat that consumed more than seven years to realize. In 1987, Mr. Kamau founded Umash Funeral Home with the intention of revolutionizing the sector, aiming to transform it into an inviting environment. During that era, mortuaries were primarily viewed as intimidating spaces. Kamau’s vision was to create Umash Funeral Home as a space where individuals could comfortably enter, even partaking in meals within the premises.
The Triumph of Umash Funeral Home
Today, Umash Funeral Home stands as one of the preeminent funeral establishments in the country, outfitted with cutting-edge facilities designed to provide the departed with a dignified farewell. The home possesses the capacity to accommodate more than 100 bodies, features a chapel for the bereaved to conduct prayers, and includes an Executive Unit catering to VIPs.
Presently, Umash Funeral Home boasts two branches: one situated in Nairobi opposite the Armed Forces Memorial along Mbagathi Way, and another in Nakuru along the Nairobi–Nakuru highway. In an exclusive interview with Tony Sanya on the Movers and Shakers show aired on Citizen TV, Mr. Kamau disclosed his plans to establish branches in Mombasa and Kisumu in the not-so-distant future.