By: Peter Aowa
Great pleasure having you on board Mr. Michael. Who is Michael in a nutshell?
I’m glad. Michael Omondi is the second born in a family of four (two boys and two girls)
Second born! Sounds Amazing. I’d be glad to know more about your family.
I was born to a mechanic father who worked with the City council of Nairobi. We lived in the suburb areas of Nairobi in one of the Africa’s largest slum, Kibra.
Your story is such an encouraging one. Briefly tell us about your school journey.
I started schooling in Kibra before relocating to upcountry, sitting my KCPE in 2000 at Uyoma Primary in North Alego ward and subsequently my KCSE at Lang’ata High School in 2004 before proceeding to Technical University of Kenya for a Diploma in sales and marketing.
What are some of the odeal memories you can never forget?
I recount of a day when I sent my sister to go and get sukuma wiki from ‘Mama Mboga’ our routinely but monitored kibanda kiosk. My dad had made a deal with the ‘mama mboga’ to be loaning us sukuma wiki and be paid after my dad had received his salary. This day however, the records read a whole three months without any pay. Comfortably sat waiting for the veges, I was silenced by tears from my sister who was standing by the door knob. The lady had denied her sukuma wiki. “Deni yenu ni nyingi sana’ The Mama Mboga said in presence of the growing number of customers. That night, we were forced to prepare porridge instead.
What are the challenges you’ve gone through?
At times dad would go without salary for up to three months, you can figure out how tough it was. We were forced to travel home leaving our dad in the city. Life in high school was not easy considering my dad’s job, fees was a great challenge. However through a friend, we were introduced to Raila Education Center and luckily I was considered for bursary.
I later started small business in the evening after school.
I would by a carton of bar soap, boxes of cigarettes and onions. Every evening after school I had to keep myself busy selling to supplement my dad’s salary.
Why didn’t you manage to join campus immediately after high school?
Joining college would mean that my siblings were to stay at home, the budget was too costly for my dad. I therefore decided to focus on doing minor jobs to raise fees for college.
That’s indeed a great sacrifice. After how long did you take on this?
For one year, after which I joined Kenya Polytechnic, now Technical University of Kenya to take Diploma in sales and marketing as part time student.
What were you doing for the rest of the day now that you were a part time student?
I used to spend most of my time during the day to raise money for part of our upkeep since dad had unbearable responsibility of schooling other siblings and also paying the rent. Walking from Kibra to town was normal.
Slums for a long time have been profiled for dark happenings like terrorism and uncompromising theft cases leading to killings of juniors, how did you survive?
I was lucky to be raised in a Christian family that valued prayers and biblical principles.
Your career journey?
I secured job at Uyoma Primary School after sharing my story with the head teacher Mr. Winston Obiero (now the late). Working as untrained teacher for one year. I was paid Ksh. 500 – 600 depending on how the parents paid fees. Later got an opportunity to work as an intern at Faulu Bank as direct sales agent based in Ugunja office. After the end of the contract, I decided to venture into small business buying tomatoes from Uyoma Sakwa and hawking them within village markets in North Alego before shifting to grocery business that has earned me a nickname ‘mafruits’
Other than the grocery business, is there anything you’re doing geared towards improving livelihoods of others considering the journey you’ve walked?
Yes I started a program dubbed Pad A Girl / Mentorship to the young people addressing topics like early pregnancy, menstrual hygiene and roles of boys in protecting girls
I have also been empowering women and Youths in Busia County, giving financial trainings, business management skills. I have also been mentoring young boys and girls especially the ones in high school and also promoting talents. I have been working closely with my friend Jack Ahenda to grow Kobare United FC
Your last words to our readers?
Prayers first, be loyal and true to your dreams.