Kahawa Dairies

written by Yoga David 11th February 2015

Kahawa Dairies


Joyce McDiarmid is a Deputy Manager and Supervisor at Dormans Village Market. Quite a hit with customers, she’s a gleeful, lively person who isn’t greedy with warm greetings and smiles. The way she takes her coffee tells us that she appreciates quality and has a very curious and inquisitive mind.

What did you do before working at Dormans?

Lots of stuff, but mostly in hotels. Truthfully, the last thing I did was in Insurance for about a year. It gave me no satisfaction. I was in sales, running around, talking to people. It was focused more on low-income people. It just didn’t make sense to me and in the end didn’t work out. I just know that making people happy is my place. Before that, I was a cashier at a little coffee shop at the Doctor’s Plaza in Nairobi Hospital. Then I worked at Havanna as a waitress for about two years. Then I went to school and studied Hotel Management.

Where are you from?

Nairobi, born and bred – Karen specifically.

How do you take your morning coffee?

Depends. I love coffee. Sometimes I’ll have a double espresso or a latte. But mostly lattes: regular, double, no sugar, no cream.

What’s your morning routine?

I mostly wake up around 5am, get ready in the hour, leave the house by 5.45 and then arrive here by 6.30 or so. When I come in the first thing I do is turn on the music, check if everybody else is in and make sure everybody else is doing their job. I also check if all the machines are working, I check expiry dates (very impotant!) and check if the wi-fi is working.

What’s your favourite pastry?

Cinnamon Roll.

What’s your ideal way to drink a coffee after a meal?

I try not to take coffee after midday because my buzz will continue till the night. I like my coffee strong but in the morning.

What are some of the things that inspire you to keep going every day?

My husband, firstly, and then also seeing people satisfied and happy. At the end of the day, it’s all about making the customers’ smile and when you see that on their face, it’s great.

Is there anyone you look up to?

My mom because I think she’s the strongest human being I know. We’ve been through a lot and she’s always stood firm. She would always say that everything will work out. Wangari Maathai, as well. Similar to my mom, it feels the message she sent was that no matter what you’re going through, just be strong.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years time?

My husband and I would like to have a resort in Meru. I think Meru’s one of the most untouched nature tourism destinations in the country. If you ever walk into Dormans Village Market and wonder who captured those powerful scenes of urban life, you can give credit to


If you ever walk into Dormans Village Market and wonder who captured those powerful scenes of urban life, you can give credit to Louis Majanja: founder of mSurvey and accidental, yet incredibly talented, photographer.



Where were the pictures taken?

All over Nairobi.

What was your main subject matter?

Everyday people, and life in Nairobi.

When did you start taking pictures?

Well I had a camera for a long time. I used to live in the USA, for about 17 years. When I Ieft the USA, I spent a year travelling (and photographing my travels) and then when I moved back to Kenya I just kept taking pictures.

Were you selling at that time?

No, it was just me recording life.

How did you get discovered?

Probably my blog. They maybe liked my style because at the time nobody as really documenting Nairobi life in an unposed and unstaged manner, and not trying to tell stories about poverty.

Do you want to continue with your photography?

If I get the time I still want to take pictures. But I don’t really know the business of selling pictures.

Do you think anyone can become a good photographer?

Anyone can do it as long as you have the passion and you work really hard at it. Photography can be a manifestation of a deeper passion. You can have a passion for travelling which translates itself through photography; you can have a passion for food that translates itself through photography. But it does start with having a passion for something.

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