From ashes to a bright future: The story of Gray’s Stays

In a candid and enlightening conversation, Ben Graham shares the beginning of his alcoholism and where he is at after recovery. “When I started drinking I had just finished my year 11 (Form 4). I was at a construction site in Thome, I was at work and a friend of mine came around, he lived about 80 meters away. When he came he just told me ‘si come twende ivi kuna form (come we go, there’s a good plan)’ So I entered the car then we drove off. We went to a place with a wines and spirits shop and my friend bought half of KC (A low-cost vodka drink). This was where I first drunk, my first encounter with alcohol.”

A downward fall is not always instant, sometimes it’s a slow fade and starts in the most innocent way. Graham has now reformed from alcoholism and in his words is taking it “A day at a time.”

Graham as most people know him, owns Gray’s Stays, a travel agency based in Diani, and has served numerous individuals and families seeking a short or long vacation in Diani. When I think of business owners like Graham, one gets the impression that he had all this planned out on purpose, especially because of how much he knows about his trade and how flawless his workflow is.

“Gray’s Stays was birthed by accident. After rehab, I decided I wanted to study to be an alcoholic counselor, the therapist who taught the course was in Diani at the time. So I went to Diani and while I was there my then-girlfriend called me and she had a friend who was looking for a place to stay in Diani, so she asked me to check out a place they had seen online. They sent me the pin and I went and checked it out, but the location they had was a con. It wasn’t there.”

After this incident Graham sort to look for a place for his friend to stay “She told me to look for a Villa. I didn’t even know what a Villa was at the time.” As he was walking around he saw a Villa. When he entered, he found out the price and shared the information with his former girlfriend to pass it on to their friend. The price was KES. 2000 per night, which was unbelievably affordable. “I can’t tell you what happened but 2,500 is what came out of my mouth, I don’t know why I said that but it did. Willy (the owner) asked me why I told her that, and he said he would have given me a commission of 500 from 2000. I didn’t know that’s how it works.”  Long story short, Graham started his new business by simply assisting a friend, who ended up staying a month instead of the few days she initially desired. “She ended up staying a month and that’s how Gray’s Stays made its first 15k.”

Your dream could just be right under your nose. It is in the simple things that phenomenon’s are born, look closely, the future you desire is right in front of you.



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