Every successful team needs a utility player; here at Ubuntu Life, ours is Ruth 'Rubie' Mureithi. Rubie joined our team 10 years ago as part of a computer literacy program facilitated by Ubuntu Life — then a non-profit with an educational arm. Having studied Information Technology at Jomo Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, she had no intention of moving back to her hometown of Maai Mahiu after graduation. At that time, it was a tiny village without many opportunities for young people, and, being a central transit point, it was primarily known as a town where long-haul truck drivers briefly stopped.
Rubie only intended to stay in Maai Mahiu for the computer literacy program's duration, which was just one year. During that time, Rubie fell in love with the Ubuntu Life kiddos and them with her. She became an integral part of the Ubuntu Life team, initially handling IT for the organization.
Once the computer literacy program ended, Rubie became Ubuntu Life co-founder Jeremiah Kuria's executive assistant. As part of this position, Rubie started coordinating trips for visitors to Kenya coming from the U.S., including teams from Whole Foods, who were involved in the construction and set up of Cafe Ubuntu. In 2014, when the Cafe was fully-operational, Rubie became the cafe manager and Ubuntu Life's official team host. Outgoing and charismatic, this was a position she flourished in.
Much loved by Ubuntu friends in the U.S., Rubie visited Austin a few years ago—and what a trip it was! She rode a horse for the first time, dressed up for Halloween, saw Ubuntu retail spaces in Texas, and hung out with U.S. volunteer doctors she had met during our medical camps.
It's not 100% clear how or when Rubie transitions from role to role; the only constant is that she rises to the occasion whenever needed. Take, for example, her part in coordinating face mask production last year. After Cafe Ubuntu closed due to COVID-19 and the government-instituted travel restrictions between Kenyan counties, Rubie moved to Nairobi for 4 months and lived near the teams making Ubuntu Life's 'Masks for Africa.'
Rubie admits to feeling incredibly down and dejected when COVID-19 necessitated Ubuntu Cafe's indefinite closure, but turned to each new task as a platform for growth in her innately optimistic fashion. Last year, as the Maker Studio has gotten busier, Rubie has joined the Production Team as Operations Coordinator.
Now a member of our management team, Rubie has set her mind to increasing operational efficiency, sourcing high-quality raw materials, and facilitating seamless communication between the U.S. and Kenya teams. In her 10 years at Ubuntu, Rubie has left an indelible mark on almost every aspect of our business, cafe, and sister foundation, leaving every department all the better for it. We look forward to seeing what the next 10 years will bring for Rubie. Knowing her incredible spirit, we have no doubt that they will be as groundbreaking and adventurous as the last decade.