No sooner had Tulipohamba Fanuel Shanyengange graduated at Unam in Nursing Science than he realised that his passion was not in what he had studied for.
This after working at Keetmanshoop hospital and then at the UNHCR in Osire.
In 2004 he moved to Eenhana hospital still struggling with his career identity. He had matriculated at Haimbili Haufiku Secondary School in Eenhana.
“I came to Eenhana with a satellite dish from Osire and I wanted to watch soccer but was told that to install my dish I had to hire someone from Oshakati. I was supposed to pay N$1000 for those services and I did not have enough money. So I decided to try it myself. I got on the roof of the room I was renting and after days of struggling I managed to connect my on dish. My landlord and neighbours started telling people that there is a man who can connect satellite dishes and I realised that there was money in that trade,” he says.
Every evening after work Tuli would install dishes at different houses, charging half of what those from Oshakati were charging. He started purchasing the satellite decoders from Windhoek and knocking door to door installing for those that had ready cash.
The next thing was to register a company for satellite dish installation, and in no time he had a team of employees.
He would place adverts in newspapers and soon even Windhoek and Oshakati residents started placing orders from Tuli. While most free-to- air satellite dishes such as Wiztech were being sold for N$2700, Tuli sold his at N$1500 negotiable because he had nothing to lose. For him it was now about the passion.
“I decided to move out of my room and began renting a full house. My wife, Frieda was based in Ongwediva; all she knew was that I was working at the hospital. My satellite dish business, she just took it as one of those things that men do to keep themselves busy, little did she know that I was keeping a lot of money aside from my side business to buy a house. Those days Eenhana was close to a bush so no one wanted to come this side. When my money was enough to build a house, things moved smoothly, but the problem was that I had built this huge house where I could not stay alone because my wife was working in Ongwediva and almost every weekend I would go back to my family. So I decided to put a sign up for a guest house.”
He shows the first plan that was designed for a normal house.
Without any funding from any institution, this nurse and wanna-be technician started receiving guests to his bed and breakfast.
Married with three kids, Tuli brought Frieda to Eenhana for the first time in 2010.
“As we drove into the yard she asked why she was being taken to stay at Litu Guesthouse, she wanted to go back to Ongwediva that same day. After we got out, I told her, it was her guesthouse. She froze and was speechless because she had no clue I was doing such things this side. All she knew was that I was a nurse and I fix televisions,” he laughs.
Litu Guesthouse is one of the three accommodation facilities in Eenhana. Opposite this guest house is an 8040 square metre piece of land where construction of 26 new rooms, a swimming pool, two conference halls and a restaurant is under way and slated to be completed by November 02 when he celebrates his 35th birthday. It is all part of Tulipohamba’s expansion.
His expansion has allowed him to venture into unchartered territories. The team that is working on his guest house site in Mandume Ndemufayo Street is part of his construction company. He now employs 60 people in total.
“In everything I have done, I have never had the experience, so my philosophy is to give something client-related. What the client wants. I acquired land to expand my guest house because there is a need for such services. Recently even my construction company has started getting calls to work in Otjiwarongo and Ongwediva, among other things. What we are now seeing in Eenhana is six years of striving. Government has done enough, and so has the town council, they are pushing. When I came here in 2005 there was nothing, just death. Now we are greener. Time to invest in Eenhana is now. The biggest challenge is selling the town; most people still don’t know where Eenhana is. The town council must begin taking along business people to other cities and countries when they go for twinning opportunities. We will help market the town with investment.”
Litu Guesthouse has an occupancy rate of 95% on a daily basis. Different companies from the capital, travellers in transit between the North and the East, NGOs and tourists make up the top clients.
Concludes Tulipohamba, “When your guest house is full and you refer your clients to another place and they refuse because they only want to stay at your place then you know you are on the right track.”
He still does satellite dish installations, personally.PF