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How Uncle Willy 5 Acres Started KUP

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Uncle Willy at his home in Tweksbury Town in Massachusetts. Uncle Willy at his home in Tweksbury Town in Massachusetts.

As a subscriber of Jamhuri Magazine, Willy Mbugua also known as Uncle Willy would read articles and become interested in Kenya housing development. He had 5 acres opposite Nairobi National Park that a housing project could be developed. Ernest Mungai of Concept Construction (Co) Ltd in Kenya when attending the 2008 WPI U.S-Africa Business partnerships conference, where he presented on Housing and Infrastructure development, would visit Uncle Willy home in Tewksbury, MA. Uncle Willy would decide to have the 5 acres of land developed to a housing project. The decision would lead to what is today the Kenya University Project (KUP) - Diaspora University Town. Uncle Willy was happy to review the 3,000 acres ongoing plan.

On February 2009, Ernest would visit Uncle Willy 5 acres and do a feasibility study. His report sent to Dan Kamau for onward submission to Uncle Willy was that the 5 acres of land was not feasible for development of a housing project. Whereas, the land was opposite Nairobi National Park, the land location along the pipeline road could not anchor a housing development project. However, the report was about to trigger the start of what has become KUP – Diaspora University Town. 

Dan Kamau would also receive an Email from Prof. Arthur Gerstenfeld on the WPI 6th U.S – Africa Business partnerships conference, 2009 just after receiving the land report. Prof. Art email proposed the conference theme through the words: “to discuss recent accomplishments between US and Africa and future directions.”

Uncle Willy 5 acres land was an accomplishment. The question became: How could it be part of the future directions? Dan Kamau, who was advancing Housing Development in Kenya and was part of the ongoing idea of University development for Kenya would find the answer in the words written in the first building built at WPI (1865) that read: “Erected by Citizens of Worcester.” The Development concept of University by the Diaspora Kenyans was born and a University Town Development Plan created.         

With the University Town Development Plan approach, Ernest would revisit the 5 acres to do a land and a region feasibility study on the development of a University Town. On March 6th, 2009 after completion of study the Uncle Willy 5 Acre Housing Plan would be started. Prof. Art would invite Ernest to be the main speaker at the U.S Africa Business Conference June.

Uncle Willy 5 acres land is today considered as the land that started the plan that has become the KUP-Diaspora University Town of 3,000 acres for creating 20,000 jobs and settling about 30,000 residents in first 5 years.      

Uncle Willy reviewed the ongoing plan as he looked toward the ground break. He was happy to reconnect with Prof. Mutisya after close to 30 years. Uncle Willy and Prof. Mutisya met when in the 1980's when they were part of the few Kenyans who lived in Massachusetts then. Prof. Mutisya said he was excited that KUP had made them reconnect.      

Email from Prof. Gerstenfeld, February 23rd 2009. (Extracts)  

Dear Dan,

This year will mark the tenth year of our Africa grants. We are planning a small conference for June 8, 2009 and would like to have your participation.

The conference will be a “round table” limited to about 20 persons to discuss recent accomplishments between US and Africa and future directions.

  • Best regards,
  • Arthur Gerstenfeld, Ph.D

Email from Ernest, March 6th 2009. (Extracts)  

Dear Dan,

Thank you for your effort to help create jobs and improve settlements in Kenya. After seeing Uncle Willy land and subsequent conversations and doing a study of the region, the town concept based on several projects in the next 4 years is possible. I do agree with these products to anchor a town project.

  1. On the 5 acres Uncle Willy land I have started the plan to build about 250 Apartments.  
  2. I talked to the owner of the adjustment land next to Uncle Willy land and he will also partner with his land. 
  3. A high school like the Worcester Tech High School can also be planned for. 
  4. A University and Hospital can also be constructed. Professor Njoroge with the assistance of Professor Art and WPI can head this institution.
  5. Develop a Golf course and more houses and apartments. 

As suggested I will arrange a meeting with the local landowners as well as meet with the M.P. to get a commitment of about 1,000 acres (4 sq km) that can produce a town. 

As suggested having about 10 people relocate from the U.S back to Kenya and work on this project will be an added plus. 

As suggested I will expect a summary of the bookings on weekly basis and if possible Attorney Kamau can come May 2nd where I will have arranged a meeting with local land owners with the copies of the bookings.

As you develop the commitments I will continue meeting with the bankers I have already talked to who can finance individuals.  

From the figures estimated this will result to about 200 - 1,000 jobs created in the region every year and about 5,000 permanent jobs in the region. 

  • Thank you,
  • Ernest Mungai
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