Connect with us


Poverty pushes A-plain boy to eke out a living as a Jua Kali artisan



He was to study medicine but since he could not raise the fees, he hopes he will get a place in aviation

As he steps into the dusty Jua kali garage to start his day, 22- year-old Moses Odour is like many of the artisans streaming into the open premises that specialises inpanel beating and spray painting.

Clad in a tattered grey dust coat splattered with paint and grease, a grey t-shirt, beige trousers and a pair of plastic sandals, Mr Oduor looks disturbed and in deep thought when the Sunday Nation team visits.

He is carrying a black bag. This is not an ordinary tool bag. The bag carries his hopes as it contains vital academic documents that put him in a class of his own.

The bag contains documents that separates him from the ordinary artisans at this dusty Jua Kali garage at Kabazi trading centre in Subukia constituency, Nakuru County.

The soft-spoken Oduor who hails from Anduro village in Alego Usonga constituency in Siaya County, is not your ordinary school dropout trying to eke out a living as a Jua Jali artisan.

It is when he opens his bag and displays his certificates with his oily hands that one is left speechless by his sterling performance in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

Mr Oduor wrote his KCSE exams at Sawagongo High School in Siaya County in 2015 and scored a mean grade of A plain with an impressive 81 points. He was among the 18 students at Sawagongo High School out of 257 who scored A plain that year.

He scored straight As in mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, history and government and geography. He also managed an A minus in Kiswahili while in English, he scored B plus.

His bag also contains his school leaving certificate, two death certificates of his parents, his birth certificate and an introduction letter from assistant chief Joseph Aloo of Nyandiwa sub-location confirming that he is indeed an orphan who desperately needs help.

“Many people who are shocked when they see my sterling results wonder where my parents are. When I tell them I am an orphan they still don’t believe it, that is why I carry the death certificates to painfully prove my status,” explains Oduor.

“I was shocked that such brilliant brains are rotting in a Jua Kali garage. The government should not allow such a bright boy to suffer,” said Mr Joseph Mwangi Waithaka, a former MCA who learnt of his plight when he took his vehicle for repairs at the garage.

Mr Oduor says his father died in 2007 while he was in Standard Four while his mother died two years later. He was raised by his maternal grandmother Monica


He adds: “Many who come to this garage sympathise with me and photocopy the documents and take my telephone contacts with a promise of helping me realise my dreams of pursuing aviation course but unfortunately that has not changed since I came to this garage in June last year.”

He ekes out a living earning between Sh50 and Sh200 per day scrubbing vehicles that need a fresh coat of paint as his dreams remain unfulfilled.

“I was admitted to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to study medicine and surgery but my poor grandmother was unable to raise tuition fees and other overhead costs as her chang’aa brewing business was a daily hide and seek affair with police officers who raided her homestead,” he said.

As his hopes of joining university diminished by the day, he rekindled his childhood memories of pursuing aviation and this saw him write dozen applications to various aviation schools in Kenya and abroad, foundations such as Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation among others but ended up receiving regrets.

“The foundations I wrote to said they don’t sponsor post-secondary schools students.”

However, this has not dampened his hopes and spirit of one day doing becoming a pilot.

”I love aviation. While growing up I admired Captain Luke Oyugi who was our neighbour. I felt happy when he landed a helicopter in the village and I vowed that when I grow up, I would like to be like him. He was my role model,” he recalls.

Captain Oyugi died on June 10, 2012 in a helicopter crash together with six government officials who included then Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode.

His disturbing experience and continuous languishing in abject poverty and a hand to mouth job is daily trapping him into more poverty and he fears depression is slowly setting in.

“It pains me when I know my colleagues who cleared KCSE in 2015 are now doing their final year at the university yet I have no hope,” he explains as he wipes a tear with his greasy dusty coat.

Even performing additional odd jobs like washing cars at the garage, many are a time when he sleeps on empty stomach.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


PHOTOS: Two Kenyan men, Kamau and Mwaura, tie the knot in US



Two Kenyan men have said “I do” in the United States.

Benson Kamau and James Mwaura tied the knot at a gay wedding ceremony in Chicago, Illinois, this past weekend.

According to, as US based news website, Kamau and Mwaura are both natives of Kenya.

Sam-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since June 1, 2014 after Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing such marriages on November 20, 2013.

This is not the first time that a Kenyan man has entered into matrimonial union with another man in the US, In 2016, Mr Ben Gitau, 33, and Mr Steve Damelin got married at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a related development in February, 2018, a self proclaimed Kenyan Lesbian married an American woman in a low key ceremony held in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Manuella Mumbi tied the knot with her American lover,  Lisa Webb Clay.

Mumbi, one of the few Kenyan women who have boldly come out to declare that they are lesbians, was born and raised in Kahawa, Kiambu County and recently relocated to the US to live with her better half before their wedding.

Webb Clay is an American model who hails from Texas. She reportedly invited Mumbi to the US to formalize their engagement.

RELATED: Kenyan woman marries her lesbian lover in US

Last week, the Court of Appeal in Kenya granted gays and lesbians the freedom to register their own umbrella lobby.

In a judgment delivered on Friday, a majority decision of the Court of Appeal held that human beings should not be denied their fundamental rights because of how they choose to live their lives.

This position was taken by judges Philip Waki, Asike Makhandia and Martha Koome while affirming the decision of the High Court.

Here are some photos from last weekend’s ceremony:

Continue Reading


Why are there so few women chefs?



It is believed that the kitchen is a woman’s place and as girls grow up cooking with their grandmothers and mothers, they carve their culinary career path from an early age.
But being amazing home cooks rarely elevates them to professional chefs.

At most high-end restaurants in Nairobi and Mombasa, there are no female executive chefs.

The InterContinental Hotel, for instance, has a male executive chef and one woman sous chef. Out of the 50 chefs at the hotel, just 18 are women. The Nairobi Serena and Tamarind Tree hotels which both have male executive chefs also have female sous chefs, who are a step below the executive chefs.

At Utalii Hotel, which has a college that trains hospitality workers, the ratio of women chefs to men is one to three, says Catherine Sidi of the food production department at the college.

This is the reality in the rest of the top hotels. Even globally, the number of male chefs awarded Michelin stars, the ultimate accolade of fine dining, outnumbers those given to women.

An executive chef leads the kitchen teams and also participates in cooking, planning menus and creating new dishes. Whereas a sous chef plans and directs food preparation in a kitchen.

So why don’t women rise to executive chef posts?

The pressure on women to juggle work and home life is nothing new but executive chef John Getanda of the Nairobi Serena says that a top chef’s job mostly involves running through 12 to 14 hour shifts and this could be the reason why more men take up the jobs as opposed to women.

“It is not easy and most women have given up along the way despite being capable chefs. Some want to start families and do something else after a short stint in the career,” he says.

Long hours

Sous Chef Corretta Akinyi of the Hotel InterContinental says that the hours are really what makes the job tough.

“For a woman to rise, she has to work long hours and be willing to stay even after work to perfect and learn new culinary skills that is just not easy for everyone,” she says.

Chef Corretta says while there are almost as many women as men when starting out in hotels, but most female chefs either divert to other ventures or stagnant on junior levels.

“Some prefer to be pastry chefs which is a flexible job in the sense that you can prepare the pastries a day before as opposed to working in the ‘hot kitchen’ where everything is done on the same day and with so much pressure,” she says.

When I ask Chef Getanda whether the restaurant kitchen is like what we see in famed TV series Hell’s Kitchen and if that could be the reason why the job could is tough for women, he laughed.

“No, that is not how kitchens are, and if they were, it would be a bad environment for anyone to work in, not just the women,” he says.

He adds that the industry needs to work on its representation, conditions and image to achieve a truly diverse workforce.


Continue Reading


US firm reveals plan to grow marijuana in Kenya



A New York-based company is claiming to have obtained a licence to cultivate marijuana on 500 acres of land in Kenya, bringing closer home the current global debate about regulation and control of the narcotic.

In a notice, GoIP Global Inc, which is listed on the OTC Markets of New York, told its shareholders that it has secured a permit to grow the stimulant on a 500-acre plot in Kenya.

“After visiting Kenya and meeting with officials in the country, I am very excited about the prospects this agreement (licence) brings to our company. This is the first of several critical transactions that will transform GoIP into a relevant member of the burgeoning cannabis industry,” said company chairman Ike Sutton in the statement dated March 7.

“The lease term will be for 25 years and Kenya being on the Equator provides the best conditions for all-year round production,” the statement adds.

However, the Kenyan government denied issuing such a licence, warning that marijuana remains a prohibited plant in the country’s statutes. GoIP did not respond to our multiple requests for comment.

Agricultural Research Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said he is not aware of any permit issued to GoIP Global Inc for the growing of cannabis.

“I am not aware of the licensing of the said firm to grow marijuana. As you are aware, cannabis is not in the list of crops that we currently regulate,” said Prof Boga.

Continue Reading


error: Content is protected !!