The Young Tanzanian Who Is Changing Lives Through Airbnb

by PJ Wheeler

As a young boy, Godwin Ndosi knew he wanted to create employment. The opportunity presented itself in 2015, when the twenty-three year old Maasai farmer was working as a safari guide and took a client on a tour.

During that trip, Godwin was asked if he had heard about Airbnb. Godwin replied “I don’t know him, who is he?” The client enlightened him about the platform, “It’s when you rent out a room or entire house to travelers.” Being an entrepreneur, the information planted a seed of possibilities in Godwin’s mind. Later that night, after he dropped off the customer at his rental house, Godwin could not help but think that should have been his rental income. He was now a man on a mission.

Being the youngest son, as is Maasai custom, Godwin would look after his parents and their farm as they aged. Having a strong drive for achievement, Godwin asked his parents’ permission to rent out his room in the family home, to see if his hospitality business could be established. They believed in their son and agreed. Godwin signed up on a listing site and waited. It took a long four months for his first guest, a trio from Malaysia, to book a stay.

In the beginning, guests stayed in Godwin’s bedroom, while he camped out in a tent pitched in the garden. With determination to execute his dream, he sent his cousin Veronica to culinary school to be the homestay’s cook (later she opened her own restaurant). Having a steady stream of bookings, the storage facility at their home was remodeled into an en suite guest room. In that first year, the family hosted 200 guests.

Having the mindset that anything is possible if you believe in yourself, Godwin hired seven more employees to expand his vacation rental empire. The community had given up on some of the employees, yet he believed in them.

With the agreement that they would give their best effort, Godwin covered their trade school cost. Now they have three more en suite guest rooms, plus a greenhouse and every day he is thanked for changing the lives of these employees, even though he tells them thanking him is unnecessary. Rooms rent for $15 per night, breakfast is included and any items you need to fix a meal yourself.

Fruits, vegetables and milk come from the family farm and what does not is bartered between neighbors. If you would like dinner prepared for you, it’s a mere $5.

In typical human nature; his neighbors feared the unknown and, were hesitant to accept these new foreigners. They saw Godwin showing his guest around and wondered if they could be trusted. The barrier was soon broken as the newcomers volunteered at the orphanage, schools and purchased goods from the local stores.

Godwin is working on his 2nd degree in business administration and is preparing to expand. In addition to the homestay, he also rents out an apartment in Arusha.

In 2018, he will break ground on an upscale lodge along the river giving visitors a panoramic view of Mt. Meru. Also, within the next three years, a backpacker’s retreat will be built, situated within the village’s banana plantation. This will provide accommodations to fit all budgets, allowing safari dreams to come true for all travelers and more jobs in the village.

Is exploring Tanzania in your plans? Godwin would love to provide you more details Cick here for more information and to book your stay.

PJ Wheeler is a part-time freelance travel writer from Boise, Idaho who writes about getting out of one’s comfort zone and discovering off the beaten-path locations. Her articles have been published in online magazines and she publishes a blog at A Traveler’s Postcard.



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