Model Who Abandoned Glitzy US Career for Simple Kenyan Hustle [VIDEO]

Raisa Ochola strikes a pose during a photoshoot.
Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it – is the mantra 29-year-old former international model Raisa Ochola lives by.

Her pursuit of self-fulfillment in regards to her career has led her across multiple continents, only to find her calling at the very place she was born and raised, Nairobi.

Astonishingly the free-spirited Kenyan beauty has worked over nine jobs in the last six years, a clear indication that she was in the hunt for the ever-elusive dream career.

“I needed people. I love talking to people, I love people around me as I come from such a big family. I needed that to give me fulfillment at the end of the day,” she narrated during an interview aired on KTN News when questioned on why she quit one of her countless jobs.

Raisa Ochola strikes a pose during a photoshoot.

Her journey across the world started just after she sat her KCSE exams at St George’s Girls Secondary School back in 2007, going on to join the engineering school at the University of Nairobi.

However, she abandoned her studies during her first year after she questioned her lecturer for teaching MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) – the main operating system for IBM computers during the 1980s.

She was fortunate enough to land a partial scholarship to pursue a Diploma in Information Systems at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Her stay in the US was shortlived, as her mother – and sole sponsor, passed away forcing her to take an indefinite break from school in 2012.

Luck was on her side once again as she was able to secure a spot at the Queensland University of Technology, with her sister providing her with accommodation during the period.

She was forced to work odd jobs such as bartending, packaging goods at a supermarket, and wine tasting to cater for her expenses, before graduating in 2015.

Raisa Ochola
Raisa Ochola

It was from this point that she embarked on her astonishing nine-jobs-in-six-years journey, with one of her jobs being part of the Fly Emirates cabin crew.

Raisa soon felt detached from her job and Googled ‘jobs without routines’ in a bid to find something that would breathe life into her.

It was at this point that she decided to come back to Kenya and try starting her own dynasty in the land of her birth.

“I wanted more and I always knew home was where my heart and future was,” she narrated.

Things weren’t easy for her when she came back, but she was determined to make it work, going on to offer her IT skills to several local companies.

It was during this period that she had her eureka moment after she took her best friend’s parents on a tour of Nairobi, after which they gave her a tip and suggested that she should try making it her side hustle.

Her company – African Thrillist, was born there and then, with Raisa opting to focus on personalized tours.

“I started with city tours where I get to take clients to Kazuri Bead Factory where my clients get to see what goes into play when it comes to the African ornaments and prints they see all over the world, we indulge in this for at least 30 minutes she narrated,” she narrated.

Workers toiling aways at the Kazuri beads factory in Nairobi.
Workers toiling aways at the Kazuri beads factory in Nairobi.

“I noticed there was a gap in the market, for example, I also take my clients on authentic Nairobi city food tours where we get to eat smokies and ‘mayai pasua’ (boiled eggs) etc,” she added.

In just over a year, she has grown her company to offer tours to other destinations such as the coast, game parks among others.

She averages at least 20 or more clients during the relatively favourable months and with the tours and travel industry known for its cyclical nature, she is currently working towards making her model more sustainable as an all-year-round enterprise.

Catch the budding entrepreneur talking about her remarkable journey below:

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