John Ochieng had a difficult time growing up as people from his village despised him because of how poor his family was.
However, he refused to be held down by people around him and through his hardwork, he has managed to take his children through good schools and acquire properties for himself.
Through his carpentry work, Ochieng built a home for himself in Homa Bay County, and bought a Ksh 3.2 million apartment in Rongai, Nairobi.
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Here is his story as told by WoK.
In an interview with LNN Network, Ochieng disclosed that he was born and raised in a polygamous family and he experienced challenges growing up.
His mother was battling tuberculosis (TB), and at some point, he had to chip in and take care of his siblings.
“ My mother would get really sick forcing me to make sure that my siblings lacked nothing. I struggled that way, I never thought life would change,” Ochieng said.
Ochieng said that while taking care of his sick mother and his siblings, other villagers would despise him to the point that they could not associate with him.
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“My mother had TB and with this ailment, we couldn’t even borrow a spoon because the risk of infection was high,” he said.
Adding; “There’s no household in this village that I’ve not worked in. I’ve done farm jobs for all families living in this village.”
While in Class 8, Ochieng lost his mother and although his dad supported him to continue with his education, he dropped out while in Form Three.
“I had to drop out to take care of my siblings. I wish I would complete my education but because of the family set up, when the mother is gone, I had to be responsible for my siblings,” he said.
He left Home Bay for Nairobi in search of a better life, and sold cartoons within the city in a bid to make some money.
At the time, he was 19 years old and he had already married.
“I got married because I wanted to leave someone home to take care of the children when I’m away,” Ochieng explained his decision to marry early.
At some point, his wife joined him in Nairobi where she got pregnant and after having their first child, he came back to the village.
“Life was difficult because while I’m away, she is in the village living amongst her in-laws who did not like her. However, her mother was instrumental in all this because she’d talk to her about the importance of having her own home,” Ochieng said.
While in Nairobi, Ochieng happened to meet with one of his cousins who organized a job for him in a construction site.
While working at the construction site, he gained trust of his boss who was gracious enough to introduce him to carpentry.
“I never thought that I’d work as a carpenter because I remember while I was in school, we would do carpentry but I wouldn’t participate because I believe I’d do something better in future,” Ochieng said.
At the construction site that he worked at, he was promoted to the level of a contractor after his cousin who was the contractor then disappeared with client’s money.
At first, Ochieng wondered how he would manage to take the role yet he had no skills, but his boss was certain that he was the right man for the job.
“He was determined to have me take over the role and with his determination, I realized that it was possible to make money if you take the job seriously,” he stated.
Ochieng would be paid 10 percent if a tenant stays in a particular house for six months. He had worked at three sites.
“The money was paid in full and that is what I used to buy land and build a house in Homa Bay. When I was building this house, people in this village said that I got the money from ‘illuminati’,” he said.
He noted that due to the environment that he was brought up in, it seemed impossible for him to pool resources, buy a land and build a house for himself.
“They’d say that they’ve never seen someone who raised from being a nobody to buying land and building a house. When I got the land and built a house, they believed that I got the money from devil worshippers,” Ochieng said.
Ksh 3.2 million apartment
Ochieng has been working with Kings Serenity Developers for over 17 years, building a strong relationship with the company’s owner.
In the interview with Lynn Ngugi, he explained how his boss guided him and advised him and his wife on saving.
On getting his Ksh 3.2 million apartment, Ochieng explained that while working on a project, he was solely given a contract to install doors, kitchen cabinets and wardrobes.
For the 750 units, he was given a Ksh 16 million budget but Ksh 3.2 million was deducted from the initial budget.
Ochieng’s task was to budget for the remaining Ksh 12.8 million and he gets an apartment after its completion.
“Budgeting was not easy, I almost declined the offer but I was surprised that by the time the site was complete, I had done all the work and I had no pending bills anywhere,” he said.
He noted that the apartment is his retirement plan, and he hopes to use proceeds from the house to sustain himself and his wife.
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