For as long as he can remember, John Ochieng Onyango was one of the few unlucky kids who never got a chance to complete their studies due to family issues.
Being brought up in a polygamous family denied Ochieng and his four brothers a lot of privileges that he believed they would have gotten in a monogamous family.
His mother was ailing for a long period of time, and so he had to take responsibility as the man of the house as he was the firstborn. He would do odd jobs in his village in exchange for food or a few cents to take care of his ailing mother.
Things became harder for Ochieng after the demise of his mother. His father would tell him to look for a wife to take care of his younger brothers, despite Ochieng being a teenager.
‘’When I was in form three, there came a time when dad kept on telling me to marry so that my wife could take care of my brothers. That made me drop out of school and start my life,’’ said Ochieng in a recent interview with YouTuber Lynn Ngugi.
He married at 19 years before fleeing from his rural home in Homabay county to Nairobi with a promise of a job opportunity. His first job in Nairobi involved selling torn cartons which he would collect from dustbins.
He was later linked to a construction company by his cousin, where he worked as a storekeeper. His Indian boss insisted that he should learn carpentry jobs which later transformed his life into who he is today. ‘’That is when I started to realize you can get money if you work hard,’’
His Indian boss loved him so much as he was a trustworthy employee. He not only maintained Ochieng in his company but also mentored him in his career. He helped him open a fixed saving account with the 300,000 shillings he had made.
‘’My boss told me to report to work the following day with my wife. He took us to a bank and gave us Sh. 300,000 and told us to put Sh. 200,000 in a fixed saving account and use the rest for our needs. He told us not to withdraw the money as bank agents would alert him,’’
Within five years, he had made a lot of money that helped him buy land in the rural area where his multimillion house sits. He also owns a multimillion rental apartment in Nairobi. He is also looking to buy two more apartments in Ruiru.
He has also founded a cabinet carpentry company where his son works as a director and which has created employment for several young people, mostly from his village.
‘’ Because of that situation that was in my village, I prayed to God to do something in that village through me. I get excited seeing young people owning homes through me,’’
Ochieng currently works as a Supervisor at Kings Developers, a Kenyan real Estate company that owns many commercial, residential, retail, and hospitality posh apartments in various parts of the country.
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His biggest advice to young people is to love what they do no matter the kind of job it is.
‘’If you despise your job, then you will never move forward. Love your job and be a trustworthy person. I have worked as a mjengo person for so many years, and I can testify that mjengo job has lifted me and is taking me far,’’ he said.