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The Boy A Tree Fell On

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I’m cynical about stories of men from the slums who meet white, missionary-like NGO types and fall in love. Of course I had heard of Kennedy Odede of Shofco and this narrative fit the bill so I watched it unfurl from afar, like you would a street magician perform his shtick. I thought that it was all smoke and mirrors, a shorthand of humanitarianism. Plus it didn’t help that it was based in Kibera, the poster-child of slums. Kibera, to me, was like a warm fire in winter where the morally-stricken white folk gathered around to warm their conscience.

I was still cynical when I went over to interview Bob Collymore in his mansion in Kitisuru when he came back from his cancer treatment. After the interview he gave me a book. “Read this book. It’s a good book.” It was by – drum rolls – Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner: Find Me Unafraid, Love Loss and Hope In An African Slum. “Of course,” I thought to myself warily when I read the title, the wet cement around my cynicism drying up. It seemed like a love story from the slums. I’m not even keen on love stories from Muthaiga, so I tossed it in the backseat of my car promising to read it at traffic lights and traffic jams, and only because Bob Collymore had recommended it.

A fortnight passed. One Sunday morning, as I sat writing at my desk at home, guess who calls me? Dorothy Ghettuba, TV Entrepreneur. I’m sorry, I’ll take that again; Dorothy Ghettuba – Pala. Of course it’s only you guys who call her that. I have always just called her “Drizzie.” I say, “Drizzie, to what do I owe this Sunday morning phone call, is Oyunga in the sin bin?” She chuckles and says, “Biko, there is a gentleman you really need to meet. He’s amazing!” Anybody Dorothy ever told me was amazing always turned out to be amazing. So I ask who this amazing person is. She says – drum rolls – “Kennedy Odede.”

The hell?!

This guy kept showing up like a bad penny. She says he just won a big humanitarian award. She says “He’s a gentleman you will enjoy talking to,” and texts me his phone number. I Google him and for the first time I read about what he’s doing in Kibera. Two days later I call him and we meet at Serena’s Aksum Bar for an interview with the Business Daily, which you can read HERE.

We really connect. I wrote in that interview that Odede is the kind of guy you meet and you wish you had met earlier. In a city where everybody comes to you wearing a mask, he comes naked. He talks about poverty, class and about his humanitarian work. He talks about his wife in a way people don’t talk about their wives anymore. He talks about Kibera with passion, with pure love. He talks about the misunderstanding of Kibera by the middle class who have never set foot there but hold impassioned opinions about it. I sit there shaking my head, pretending that I’m not part of this ugly middle-class he’s talking about and I’m hoping he’ll not ask me if I have been to Kibera because then I will be forced to tell him the truth, which will disappoint him and he will think, “Oh, here we go, one of them is right here.”

But then he asks me if I have been to Kibera and I say, “Well,” which is always how guilty people start answering questions, “I have been to the periphery of Kibera.” He would have left it at that if he truly believed that Jesus died for our sins, but he doesn’t. He asks, “Periphery?” I tell him “Yeah, I have seen it from the Southern Bypass.” He laughs and says, “You have seen the roof of Kibera.” He tells me, “You can’t know me if you don’t know where I have come from.” So he organises with one of his stalwart friends and colleagues at Shofco called Serkal, a quiet man with a dangerous gait, and on one wintry mid-morning I tour Chocolate City. But unlike you, the middle-class, I don’t remove my watch or leave my wallet in the office. I won’t tell you what Kibera is like; that is something you need to witness on your own. But I remember seeing what Odede has done for his community and I thought, damn, what have I done for anyone else other than my own children? I was challenged. So I called him after my visit and asked him if I can write a story on the blog and he said, “Sure.”

So here we are at a restaurant on another glum, nippy day, and he’s telling me about his poverty-stricken childhood in Gatwekera slums in Kibera. The gangs of Kibera would hurl big stones through doorways to steal from the rich of Kibera, who, it turns out, is anyone who owns a radio or a TV. Or anyone who could afford meat. Gangs with ironic names like The 12 Disciples and 42 Brothers.

He’s telling me about the violent tribal wars between the Luos and the Nubians, the unrelenting and macabre wave of violence that would sweep through the slums without notice. How even the police could not venture into certain areas of Kibera because untold violence and danger lurked there and there was no rule of law and justice was meted by fate. His childhood unfolds like a surreal movie about the gangs in the favelas of Brazil. He talks about the rapes he witnessed. The class system even in the slum. The constant lack of food in their house. The body lies that sucked what poverty left of their bodies. The angry husbands whose sense of dignity and manhood had been shrunk by poverty and the anger and domestic violence that ignited from that wretched insecurity.

He tells me of the campaign season and how politics darkens the hearts of men, plants seeds on the manure of that poverty and when it germinates men reach for pangas and turn to their neighbours, people they have grown up next to for years, and they cut them like you would sirloin. He frames the hopelessness of his childhood with such dramatic prose. He gesticulates wildly. His eyes widen. He often switches to Dholuo because there are some things English just doesn’t have the right colour to capture. And I sit there, the prior visit to Kibera still lingering in my mind, and I smell poverty and desperation in his words.

“I opened my eyes in Kibera, even though I wasn’t born there. I went there when I was a year old,” he says. “Like Bob Marley. He was not born in Trench Town, he was born in the village, but he always talks about Kingston, Trench Town. Martin Luther King was just a small time reverend from a small church in Alabama, but his voice was eventually heard by the whole world. Such stories inspired me.” He also peppers conversation with mention of Marcus Garvey.

He tells me of how he finally runs away from home, from the domestic violence, when he’s 10. And he’s out in the streets, a chokora, eating out of garbage, snatching purses off the arms of women, begging, and hurling human excrement on those who hesitate to hand over a few coins, sniffing petroleum fumes and glue. “You know, when you sniff glue you can sleep in the open cold of the night and be rained on and you won’t feel a thing. You can sleep through fire.” Of course he doesn’t mean it literally, otherwise people would carry glue to hell and then there will be no gnashing of teeth. (And what fun is that?)

His idea of riches was households that could afford bread and maybe meat, people who had a radio in their houses. But in the streets he saw, for the first time, another dimension of wealth; men and women driving big cars. He saw men eating in restaurants! Restaurants! He hated the rich. Hated them for having so much when he had so little. Hated them for rolling up their windows when he approached their cars because was he not human like them? “Poverty makes you invisible, a sub-human,” he says. “It takes away your dignity, you lose your confidence and your voice, your opinion is neither needed nor sought. You lose your voice. This is why during elections the poor in the slums go to the streets, it’s a desperate attempt to remind you that we exist, that we are here and you can’t continue pretending that we don’t exist.”  A preacher took him in because he wanted to speak English “like a white man” and there, in church, he discovered books and in books he escaped into a world of fantasy and dreams and possibilities.

“When you are pushed against the wall by poverty and inequality, and you have nowhere to go, you start to think for yourself. I thought, what if we build something so shiny in our slums, a very bright light that would make everybody ask, ‘What is that shining in Kibera, let’s go and see.”

How he started SHOFCO you can read in his book or online. But a soccer ball is involved, and it eventually grows beyond football. It’s now piped water that runs overhead like electricity, it’s a medical center, it’s a school for girls, it’s a library, it’s a safe house for sexually and domestically abused women. It’s bloody amazing. He doesn’t call Shofco an NGO, he calls it a movement. Because it’s driven by people who want better for their own community. It’s the light of hope. It’s amazing that he started SHOFCO when he couldn’t speak English, when he only had one branded Safaricom t-shirt in his wardrobe.

“You know they say people in slums are lazy and don’t work hard, but how much harder does one have to work when a woman wakes up at 4am to go to Marikiti market to buy tomatoes? How much harder can a man work when he rises at 4am to walk many kilometers to Industrial Area to work in a factory? Poverty isn’t about how hard you work; poverty is a trap, a maze, you walk in there trying to find the exit and you don’t because the world has locked you in.”

But what is a good story without a girl? Enter stage left: Jessica Posner.

Here is what I think of Jessica. So Odede is this massive dhow that was built to sail very far into the next frontier, into new uncharted seas. But what is a big dhow if it doesn’t have a big mast? It will only bob and drift not too far from the lagoon. Jessica is that mast. The mast that catches the wind. The mast that helps the dhow navigate the treacherous high seas.

It’s safe to say that his movement and life took a turn when he met Jessica, a yankee who came to Kenya to study under a program. She sent him an email requesting to help in his work at SHOFCO and he said “No, we don’t want any white folk here helping us, we can help ourselves.” (He was a rastaman, he says, but without locks.) She kept trying. He finally said, “Send us your CV.” He laughs. “We didn’t even know what a CV was! But I thought if we told her that, we would look like a very important organisation. She sent her CV and we didn’t even know what to look for.” He replied saying they didn’t need aiders, they needed people with skills. “We didn’t want mzungus hanging around here in the name of slum tourism,” he says. “And they are many. We had seen lots of mzungus who came here to use us to get into Ivy league schools like Yale and Harvard, using our poverty as a stepping stone. Our own local middle-class and upper class didn’t care what was going on in Kibera, they were happy in their houses with their gates. Everybody who we had experienced in Kibera had an agenda and the agenda was theirs, not ours. We were alone, and we had made peace with that so I told Jessica, ‘No thanks.’” He laughs. He laughs a lot, and when he laughs he high-fives. I’ve never high-fived any interviewee as much as I did Odede.

Anyway, Jessica didn’t give up; eventually they met in Java, Adams Arcade, 2007. His first time in a restaurant. He tells me this story in Dholuo and I’m laughing so hard I almost fall back in my chair. Since you all refuse to learn Dholuo I will have to translate it into English but it won’t be as funny.

We take small things for granted. He had never in his life been presented with choice before and suddenly he had a menu before him and a menu represented choice. There were all these things in the menu that he had never heard of: like chocolate chip pancake. Trying to read Huevos Rancheros gave him a headache, let alone trying to figure out what the hell that was. And what on earth was “fajita.”? It sounded like someone’s name; Fajita Fatuma. He was in way over his head. He studied the menu with fascination. He couldn’t find tea and bread in that menu because they call bread “toast” at Java. Those colonisers! Toast? Would it kill them to call it bread? Poor Kennedy. On the other hand he wanted to show this white lady seated across from him that he ran a small NGO, uhm, movement and that he was important and that he had dignity even though he was dirt poor. Jessica ordered a salad. “Leaves, Biko! Leaves, bwana!” he tells me laughing. So he grudgingly ordered the same and suffered through the indignity of eating a rabbit’s lunch.

The rest of the story is in his book. Jessica got in and not only did she get in, at some point she offered to stay in the slums, in his grubby 10 by 10 room, where he used paraffin and the walls were made from paper so thin a goat could sneeze and bring it down. They fell in love in this debris of poverty because loves sometimes grows from the most desperate of places. “Jessica is a tough woman. Very. She also has a very special heart, a clean and accepting heart. A white woman with a black* heart. She was the only person outside Kibera who saw me for me, not for my dirty clothes or for my poverty. She saw the person I was and she understood my ambition and dream and because she’s a smart woman she had the language for it. She knew what my heart sought and my heart sought a better life for my community and my heart sought her.”

I say, “Yaye, Odede. Don’t make me break into song.”

To his surprise, and to the surprise of his mates in the slum he married her eventually.

“When did you know that your life had changed, that you had escaped the smelly mouth of poverty?” I ask. He laughs at that analogy that I will have you know I came up with all by myself because I was wearing my big boy pants.

“In the plane.” He laughs.

“The plane?”

“Yes, Biko, my very first time in an aeroplane to join a most prestigious school, Wesleyan University, a school for elites. Me, Kennedy Odede, a poor boy from Kibera in the plane! My God, if that was not a miracle, what is?” He laughs. He switches to Dholuo. “First, when the flight attendant called me sir, I was confused. I looked behind me, because nobody had ever called me sir before. I said, ‘Excuse me, are you talking to me?’ She said, ‘Would you like white or red wine, sir?’ Biko, I had never drunk wine in my life. All I knew from the slums was chang’aa. What was that?! Jessica was smiling, silently amused. I said, ‘Can I have both?” and they brought me both red and white wine! Ha-ha-ha. [High-five]. When they asked me if I wanted chicken or fish I said “Bring both!” They brought fish and chicken. “Would you like vinegar, sir?” “I don’t know what that is but bring it.” I ate everything, Biko, everything. Ha-ha. [High-five]. I was very skinny, ask Jessica, I was very skinny. When I arrived in America I discovered that people actually used hot water that poured from the top and it never ran out! You stand there and hot water falls on you! I remember showering for two hours until they came to check if I was fine.” Laughs. [High-five]. “And in school, when my friends would go to the gym they’d try to invite me but I’d refuse. I’d ask them “Why do you want to go lift weights?” and they’d say, “So that we sweat.” I told them, “Sweat? My friend, I worked and sweated in construction sites for many years, I’m not sweating again, let me enjoy.” Ha-ha-ha. [High-five]

We laugh so hard at this story but we are at Under The Radar restaurant and it’s just after 2pm so thankfully it’s virtually empty except for a couple that just had lunch. The man, staring into space, has a toothpick sticking out his mouth. The lady is on her phone. The modern face of happy marriages. The man turns once in a while to look at us, wondering what the hell could be that funny for these guys to laugh so loudly and talk so animatedly. I bet he wanted to join us if there was 0 percent chance that he would not be in trouble with his  lady later. Or that it would never be brought up in future during a fight.

America was confusing. Confusing because poverty followed him there. It was in his bones. In his pockets. In his breath. In his head. Here he was in this esteemed company of rich folk and he, a slumdog, felt like an imposter. Like he didn’t belong. He felt like if he admitted that he was from a slum they would shun him. Because who wants to rub shoulders with poverty? So he would hide Kibera under his hat until Jessica told him that he should be proud of where he’s from, that this was America and nobody cared where you came from, and that he represented an American dream. So he “came out.” And the reaction was astounding. People were impressed that a boy from the slums was in with them. They wanted to know about his girl-education program. They wanted to know how they can be a part of this movement. He was a hero.  “In America where I was from didn’t matter. Here it’s about money, if I make a lot of money people will not care about how I made it in bad ways, they will just look at the money. There nobody will give you respect if you stole lots of money. I learnt about integrity. That they cared about who you were as a person and what you represented, not necessarily what you owned or who your father is.”

Word went around. Soon he was rubbing shoulders with A-list movie stars, having dinner at Oprah’s house, meeting with Bill Clinton and Sean Pean and whatnot. “I thought I had died and gone to heaven,” he says. “In fact, I’d call my mom and she would ask me, how is amerka and that’s when I would know that I was still on earth.”

Recently he won the Oscars of the humanitarian world called the Hilton Humanitarian Award. It’s the world’s largest annual award for non-profits. It comes with a prize of $2million.

“Why do you think all these things happened for you?” I ask him. “Why you? Why are you the deserving one and not some other man from Kibera?”

For the first time he seems not to know how to answer the question. He pauses and squints at the table. “Look, I will be honest with you. For a long time I didn’t know I was doing something important until people started telling me I was. It’s weird. And I’m trying to accept it slowly. For me I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.” He pauses and tries to answer it in Dholuo. The rough translation is that “the tree fell on him.” It could be luck. Or chance. “I tell people, the tree fell on me. And there are many ways it could have fallen on anyone else many years ago. There are many ways I could have died, there are many ways something could happen. But somehow my life is not normal, this life I have led is not normal – from Kibera to America. Build this big organization that is helping people. No. It’s not normal. My life is more luck than anything else but at the same time I don’t want my child to live only by luck. It seems so simplistic. [Pause]. I always say that opportunity is scarce, but talent is global.”

He would come back to Kenya for vacations and notice that he was balancing on two class worlds. In the US he was lauded as a community champion and he schmoozed with important people, but back in Kenya he was Kennedy from the slums. “It dawned on me, rather in a funny way, that I didn’t have any middle-class friends! And that’s the thing Biko, poverty lacks networks. You are so enclosed in this life that you only know people who are as poor as you. That’s why it’s hard to break it.”

“Now that you are rubbing shoulders with whos-who, have you gained a foothold in the elite class?”

He sighs. “There is an elite club in this country that you can’t really be allowed in. I think it’s because of…” he searches for the word.

“Pedigree?”

“Yes! Pedigree! You know I’d be at a function and talk about my time in the states and the people would be keen but the moment I mentioned Kibera, people stepped back. They flinched. You know what I mean? Because that represents poverty and nobody wants to be associated with that. They want to hear about your moments with Oprah but not with a sexually-abused girl in Kibera. They’re off when you mention Kibera. It happened to me a lot. I used to cry, like what’s wrong with this country? It used to make me so sad that that our own people are embarrassed of our own. Jessica told me, ‘Kennedy, you can meet anyone in America. Madonna, Beyonce, the head of Gucci are all supporting SHOFCO. Clinton believes in you. You go to Nigeria and you meet people like Dangote. It means you are doing something important. So focus on what you are doing.’ It made sense. I stopped trying to figure out the class structure. But then things started changing and a lot of local people started coming to ask how they can help, how they can be a part of helping people in Kibera. Remember that shining light I mentioned? It was shining and people were asking, what is that shining in poor people’s neighbourhood? ”

Does hanging out with stars make you a star? I wonder. What does it mean to sit in Oprah’s house for dinner? Or be in the same space with Madonna? What does it mean when Tom Hanks walks around a room holding your hand and asking other stars, “Have you met Kennedy? He’s doing amazing work in Africa?” Just how hot is Beyonce up close? Do you feel your eyebrows singe when she looks at you? (Ok, strike this one. It’s just my random thought). I asked him if that has changed his composition in any way.

“Biko, don’t forget that these people are keen to work with me not because I’m the life of the party,” he says. “It’s because of what I have done and what I continue to do and my passion to help my community rise from poverty. It’s like a dream of course, but what gives me the most joy is when I go back to Kibera and I see what we have done; girls going to school, clinics and piped water. I love when women who saw me as a child say they are proud of what their child has done, because they will never see me as a grown up, I’m still nyathini. Haha. I like humility because of where I have been. Poverty humbles you. Humility also takes you far. But this is also a confusing time because I’m asking myself the question; who am I? Am I Odede the guy who meets Clinton or am I Odede the boy from Kibera? When people say Odede is successful it makes me uncomfortable because that’s not what I set out to do. I want them to say, Shofco is successful. I don’t want to be successful alone when people from Kibera are not. I want us to be successful. But also I’m told that I have to celebrate what I have done. [Pause] It’s a very confusing time for me now. But you know what is not confusing, Biko? I found the secret of happiness?”

What is that?

“Rising with people. When I walk in Kibera I’m not the only one walking with his head  held high. Mothers and girls and boys are. People who Shofco has touched. I love it when girls who couldn’t speak a work of English a few years ago can read books. That is the secret of happiness, when you rise with people, not alone. I have gotten many lucrative job offers; a UN posting in New York, an opportunity to manage hedge funds, but I said no, because then I would be doing it for myself not for my community in Kibera. There is great joy in giving, greater joy in many people smiling than in only you smiling. ”

“So how does one learn to become selfless? Is it practiced or it’s inborn?”

He moves closer to me like he’s about to tell me a secret. And he does.

“I have met some of the most powerful and wealthiest men in America. I have also met some of the poorest people in Africa. Do you know what these two people have in common?”

“They are people.”

“Exactly! You are smart. You can make lots of money but still be very empty. Greed is prostitution; you want this and you want that and you want this again. You will never be happy. But if you live a purposeful life, you will find happiness. Think of someone else for a change. Take someone like you, Biko; you don’t look like you are struggling…”

“This month, I am,” I say. He laughs.

“No, I mean you can afford to pick an orphan and take them to school until they finish, right? It won’t cost you much. But we don’t. We want more when that orphan has nothing. If you take that child to school you will experience the joy that making a million shillings can’t give you. Believe me.”

“Does purpose find you or do you find it?” I ask him.

He laughs and leans back in his chair, “Biko, you ask difficult questions!” There is a pause. “You have to search, my brother. You have to search for it here.” He points at my nipple, but he means heart. “You have to search within yourself.”

He nods. I nod. We nod because it’s a lovely moment, a poignant one even. He’s only 34, but things are clear to him. Clearer at least. He has a son that is a few weeks old. He has a wonderful wife who continues to provide him with wisdom, direction and anchorage. He has just won a major award. Bill Gates tweets him. Obama knows his name. He can get Hillary Clinton on the phone in an hour if he wanted to. Or Oprah. A boy from Kibera done good. The boy a tree fell on. Does he know who genuinely wants to help or who wants to bask in his glory? He says he doesn’t know. He says it bothers him sometimes.

I have to pick up my daughter from school. I’m already 30 minutes late and I’m never late. We had a tiff the previous day. I had spoken to her angrily, in a raised voice and told her “This is nonsense, we are not going to have this conversation again, are we clear, Tamms?” She apologised, in a teary voice. And now I was a no-show to pick her up, the first time it’s happened. She probably thinks I have abandoned her. Disowned her. My poor baby. As we stand up he says, “Be careful with your children. Be careful how you raise them. I see and hear a lot of cases of mental health and suicides in wealthy families, you know why?”

“Why?” I ask, looking around. The happy couple is gone.

“Because we forget to teach our children the purpose of life. We show them money. I have a lot of billionaires in America sending their children to Kibera to see the other side of life. They come. Why? You have to remind them it’s not about money. It’s good to have enough and know what is enough and be comfortable with what is enough. There are things we will never buy for our children, that I won’t be able to buy for my son, and it’s showing them the value of giving, or being a human being with compassion. Show them both worlds, balance their world.”  At the parking lot we embrace because we are aware we just shared a special afternoon, and he jumps in the back of a big black car and I jump in the front of a small black car.

His words ring in my head as I go to pick up Tamms; “balance their world.” I find her sitting in her classroom. She isn’t mad. I touch the back of her neck and tell her I’m sorry I’m late. I tell her I was interviewing someone who just wouldn’t shut up. “My God, Tamms, he went on and on and on. I fell asleep.” She grins. In the car I ask her, “What do you think is the purpose of life?” A difficult question for a 10-year old, but don’t we pay good money in school fees so that they can be able to handle such questions?

“Purpose?”

“Yes, do you know what purpose is?”

“Yes, why we live?”

“Exactly. What is the purpose of life?”

She bites her lip, thinking, and says, “To be successful.”

“What is success?”

“Success….”

“Yes.”

“To read hard in school and get a good life.”

“A good life is not money,” I tell her and I get into a long, inspiring spiel, which I’m sure bores the hell out of her. She doesn’t nod off, though.

145 Responses
  • Xavier
    04.09.2018

    Impressive read. Am inspired. Keep doing this for us.

    6
    • Abigail McKay
      09.09.2018

      Beautiful Read, Truly Inspirational ……What one man can achieve ….when one Believes

      1
  • Wahito
    04.09.2018

    This!!!!! Yes!

    May God help us see the other side because majority of #bikofaithfuls are the middle and upper class.

    Now off to Google SHOFCO.

    Thank you.

    40
  • Njagi S.
    04.09.2018

    Wow! What a read. Inspirational, actually.
    The aircraft incidence sounded like witchcraft. Seriously?

    7
  • Titus Kamunya
    04.09.2018

    God bless Kennedy

    6
  • Jen
    04.09.2018

    The gems in this piece! Love it!

    4
  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    04.09.2018

    Ah, Kennedy. I love the way he has warmed his way into our hearts. I got a snippet of his story from TV and it is amazing the level of selflessness he represents. He says he met the queen before ever meeting his MCA, his MP etc. A stamp on how broken things are around here. Would we be celebrating him if he was not being celebrated by the world? What are the chances that the governor will want to meet him him now that he cannot afford not to? Will a rich man somewhere send a donation just to he can get witty lines for social conversations by throwing this young man’s name in there? We should applaud Kennedy better and at while at it learn to see people beyond their money and their family name etc.

    And who else is wondering how he drank both white and red wine and ate chicken and fish and they all went into one stomach?

    Great read this one!

    97
    • Ocampo
      04.09.2018

      Reminds me the case of Wangari Maathai; that we(or President for that matter) saved face by giving her an Assistant Minister afte she had won the Nobel Prize. What a society we live in…..

      5
  • Eskay
    04.09.2018

    High five, sir!

    4
    • Getty
      04.09.2018

      I am inspired!!! Food for thought..

  • Tony Muigai
    04.09.2018

    There’s so much life in him, no wonder he laughs and high fives a lot
    https://kentschronicles.wordpress.com/

    3
    • Aisha
      11.09.2018

      Yoooo… I just tiptoed into your blog and I’m hooked!! Amazing!!! Let me go back now and finish up with Kent.

      2
  • Am Joy
    04.09.2018

    Opportunity is scarce, talent is global.
    You have no idea the impact you have on people. To you its finding a story, telling the story the best way possible. But that’s the furthest you see. If only you could see what impact the story has…….

    16
    • maform
      04.09.2018

      The words in those stories, raw as they are, ignite hope. To a few if not many, in these streets of social media and internet. Where all we see is filtered glam and no sight of real and daily struggles in life. Keep them coming. And help us learn and see things in different light.

      4
    • Nyawiny
      11.09.2018

      The depths of just this one piece for instance!!!! In it I have found pride in how stories sound in my mothertongue; sad stories are so much sadder and happy stories are elating. I have found a sense (or the lack of it) of marriage and that there are things only those who have been married know, for example, that when married, you can’t simply do things that would make you happy even if they are not wrong because it ‘might be used against you’ in the future; and I have been reminded to be a better parent, in fact I have found a solution to my son’s constant asking to be bought this or that. I think you have your purpose Biko. It is to touch lives in ways you can’t begin to understand

  • The Granny's Corner
    04.09.2018

    I don’t envy Tamms at the end. Because I am still struggling with purpose. And I can’t define what my success entails. Because I am struggling to figure it out.

    But I try to balance it out. And freak out when I can’t seem to. So I will shut out the voices and work on something. And think of Kennedy & Jessica

    8
  • The Granny's Corner
    04.09.2018

    I don’t envy Tamms at the end. Because I am still struggling with purpose. And I can’t define what my success entails. Because I am struggling to figure it out.

    But I try to balance it out. And freak out when I can’t seem to. So I will shut out the voices and work on something. And think of Kennedy & Jessica. The boy could have been killed by the tree. But itr made him stronger.

    3
  • James Lokitoe
    04.09.2018

    Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead, to work for and it’s apparently when the whole world is silent , because Only then that even one voice becomes Powerful enough. Purpose. Found.

    2
  • Fiona
    04.09.2018

    Inipiration teusday it is.
    I may not have much now but when God blesses me i will be sure to bless someone and that to me will be my highest level of success.
    I couldn’t help but read some parts in dholuo as kennedy said and it’s true it’s funnier in dhouluo
    “A tree fell on me-Yath nolwar kuoma” That is exactly what kennedy said right?

    2
  • Jim
    04.09.2018

    “The man, staring into space, has a toothpick sticking out his mouth. The lady is on her phone. The modern face of happy marriages.”….okaay

    7
  • TITO
    04.09.2018

    I’d like to comment, key in some beautiful statement but WOW. No words.

    1
  • Jerono
    04.09.2018

    Good one. Just wondering…can you take fish and chicken at the same time?

    • Irene.
      04.09.2018

      You can take anything you want, I think that’s how mashakura was invented!

      3
    • Carol
      09.09.2018

      Usually,in Nigeria they mix all kinds of meat in one pot so I suppose it’s possible albeit a bit weird

  • CNN
    04.09.2018

    Sad how I didn’t know Odede before your interview!. Now I know him and he inspires me so much. Made me reflect and realize that I’m living a life with no purpose since all along I’ve purposed to get money and be rich.

    Great article Biko. Where can we get the book btw?? Oh and The nipples part though..hahahaha

    2
    • Kent Mwokoz
      09.10.2018

      My question as well… The book…. Where can we get them. Odede finding purpose is inspiring.. Purpose > richness

  • Mwendwa Muriungi
    04.09.2018

    “Greed is prostitution” I have enjoyed the read.

    1
  • Jerono
    04.09.2018

    Such a great read. How healthy is it to take fish and chicken at the same time?

  • Caroline
    04.09.2018

    This is the best piece, I have read from you to date and I have read your blog and your articles faithfully since you started out. It’s not how it was written, but what was written. Thank you for sharing Kennedy’s story.

    8
  • Caroline
    04.09.2018

    This is the best piece I have read from you to date and I have read your blog and your articles faithfully since you started out. It’s not how it was written, but what was written. Thank you for sharing Kennedy’s story.

    2
  • Wakweika
    04.09.2018

    Thanks for sharing this with us Biko! Great story!

  • Beatrice Gatundu
    04.09.2018

    So genuine, fish and chicken both in one stomach at the same time, white and red wine at the same time….mmmm, may I be challenged to succeed with others.

  • Vivian
    04.09.2018

    I am inspired,challenged and motivated at the same time.I have read blogs but this one has just got me completely!

    2
  • Sara
    04.09.2018

    This touched me
    I always read & never comment
    God knows why coz Biko I love your writing
    This spoke to me kabisa
    I lived in Kibera big part of my life. I relate. I’m inspired.
    Thank you for putting out stories that matter.
    You’re making a big difference Biko
    Doing your part in making this world a better place.

    20
  • Migwi
    04.09.2018

    That they cared about who you were as a person and what you represented, not necessarily what you owned or who your father is.”

    3
  • Sara
    04.09.2018

    I relate
    I never comment God knows why coz I love your writing Biko
    This is a truly inspirational story. Having lived in Kibera a part of my life reading this teared me up.
    Asante Biko for putting out stories that matter
    Beautiful!

    2
  • Mutuma
    04.09.2018

    Nice read, it reminds me of the novel, “Coming to Birth” by Macgoye Oludhe Macgoye.
    And now am asking myself about my purpose and wondering if I am selfish because I am always striving to clothe and feed me n my small family, then what??? Indeed, it’s a food for thought.

    3
  • Ochie Ochie
    04.09.2018

    Sweat?My friend,I worked in construction sites for many years.i am not sweating again.Let me enjoy Hahahahahahaha

    6
  • Kennedy’s story is inspiring.
    He is very raw in his explanations making him interesting and humorous.
    Many people ask why God allows poverty, but I don’t think God wants folk to be poor, He is looking for people who can be the change in communities hitherto known as poor. Kennedy’s story is a testimony in this regard.
    I also like his wife Jessica and her persistence in writing to work with Shofco, and the changes she brought into his life. I think we all need a Jessica in our lives, a mast that will catch the wind and navigate the dhow of our dreams through treacherous high seas.

    11
  • Kerubo
    04.09.2018

    Inspiring, I need to find my purpose.

  • Emma
    04.09.2018

    This was deep. Soul-searching kind of article.

    2
  • Irene Cherono
    04.09.2018

    Thanks Biko, as usual you make life worth living with your writing. Keep it up

    1
  • Duprez_Okello
    04.09.2018

    Chapeau Kennedy! Chapeau!

  • Dottie
    04.09.2018

    Am humbled by this story Biko! Great piece as always

  • Shallon Niwamanya
    04.09.2018

    what a great story!!!! God bless you both

  • Stella Koech
    04.09.2018

    “There is great joy in giving, greater joy in many people smiling than in only you smiling” this right here.

  • Oscar
    04.09.2018

    Only those who have experienced the two sides of life are fully aware of what compassion, humility, and humanity are. And life has too much to offer to those with a sense of humanity. It’s a cold world out here. Be that blanket to someone, even it means just smiling at a dark soul, it must just lit up their spirit. I’m happy and proud of you Kennedy. And my hat is on my desk for Jessica Posner; she’s the girl who brought the life to this story.

    5
  • Daizy Mathenge
    04.09.2018

    You know what’s sad? That I got absolutely no idea who Odede is and what Shofco does. He is a hero for Kibera and most of us don’t know about him.

    2
  • Mohasyno
    04.09.2018

    This article is both humorous and soul-searching type. I liked the part that Kennedy asked Jessica to email her CV just because he wanted to appear important. But don’t some of us put on our best outfit when we are broke as shit? Isn’t there a pair of shoe you put on when you’re stressed and it helps boost your feel-good feeling? I think most people try to put on masks to hide their real selves. Some try to conceal a marriage that is at the brink of collapse, some try to mask a relationship that is breaking. Others hide poverty. It is a survival mechanism we have adopted. It fascinates me how people like Kennedy can nakedly express themselves. It is not easy my friend. But what is our greatest fear for allowing people into our true selves?

    Now, finding purpose is one of the most difficult and bewildering things I have ever tried. Sometimes you feel like you’re at a eureka moment only for that impression to blur, and even vanish. You will always see surmounting challenges, hills and big mountains. Just like the the allegorical city of Atlantis, attempting to find your purpose feels like the long-forgotten city of Atlantis that sank into the Atlantic ocean. Sometimes it is an illusion, other times it resurfaces and drives your energy high. But what do we say? With dogged determination we continue to seek after our purpose in life, a well-defined one you can dedicate all your energy into. Let’s not allow despair to creep into us. In the deep recess of our being we know each one of us fits into a special space in the grand scheme of life. Cheers!

    8
  • Mo
    04.09.2018

    I first heard of SHOFCO at an American Womens’ Association meeting. Jessica was telling her story and she had just finished writing her book and like Biko I dismissed her like another white person trying to look good saving the people in Kibra. Then everywhere I went all of a sudden Kennedy’s name always came up just like Biko I kept thinking the guy’s name kept coming up like a bad penny. Now I’m actually going to buy the book and read it. They are both amazing and what they have done in Kibra is impressive and if he Kennedy can do that for Kibra guys I think we can all borrow a leaf and do something to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters. I am challenged for sure.

    4
  • JoyGrace
    04.09.2018

    Wow, this is mind-blowing * Makes you think twice why you do what you do everyday God grants you another day.

  • jackie
    04.09.2018

    I have been challenged to give.Thinking really hard

    1
  • Adobi
    04.09.2018

    “If you take that child to school you will experience the joy that making a million shillings can’t give you.” Very profound! I feel like writing these words on a billboard that’s strategically located on a busy highway.

    Also, Tamms may seem bored but trust me she’s listening to you. Words are like seeds, they germinate slowly and surely one day you’ll witness their influence on her. So keep at it.

    6
  • Henry Zebedee
    04.09.2018

    Hilarious truth. Nice read.

  • abdull sheiqkh
    04.09.2018

    opportunity is scarce but talent is global?
    Very inspirational.

    1
  • P. K.
    04.09.2018

    May Kennedy meet my aunt who started her clinics in Katwekera (it is not gatwekera middle class you hehehe) Lindi and Kianda. (All these are in Kibera mind!) In the 80s. If you can facilitate this Chocolate man I would be happy.

    1
  • Gil
    04.09.2018

    What an inspiring read! A good life is not money.

  • Joy
    04.09.2018

    I live for such stories

  • Kenn K
    04.09.2018

    Inspiring read.
    Such stories make you realize you can always do more to help out.
    I wish there was a platform through established organizations like SHOFCO for individuals to be linked with families they can empower in their own small ways. Something like Big brother mentorship program but tailored to elevate families in need. Whereby you volunteer as an individual/family or a group of friends to aid a particular family stuck in the maze of poverty as you put it. Creating that direct interaction reinforces the desire to help out, and gives us more clarity on how you can impact a a life by sparing that booze money for the weekend or diverting what we handout to our uptown bishop doctors and ‘mums’ to expand their empires.

    4
  • Nzilani
    04.09.2018

    It’s good to have enough and know what is enough and be comfortable with what is enough.

  • Demi
    04.09.2018

    Kennedy is a clear case of a prophet not being honoured in his country.

    The first time I heard of Kennedy was during an Engage session and as you said he is as raw as they come. He is a very humble person and very funny. He laughs at himself and is okay when you laugh at him and his experiences.

    2
    • Wangari
      06.09.2018

      Biko great story. Sad that until today I had never heard of him or the movement.

      As he says “You live in Nairobi but you don’t know where Mathare or Kibera is. Unaogopa utaibiwa. Kwani uko na nini?”

      All he asks from us is that we give back to the community. We can impact lives through their movement by simply liking their Facebook page/Twitter handle or supporting the girls.

      I laughed out loud at “maji inatoka mbinguni. MOTO. ” 2hour shower.

      High Five.

      1
  • Lily
    04.09.2018

    He laughs a lot, and when he laughs he high-fives. I’ve never high-fived any interviewee as much as I did Odede he he he

    Quite an inspiring story! Good job Biko, you make one see through Odede’s world

  • Anne
    04.09.2018

    Thank you Biko!! this is such an inspiring story…that it only takes one person who has a purpose and passion for something that he/she believes in to make a difference in this world. I have now come to realize indeed it all about people, that we are greatly rewarded and satisfied when we choose to give rather than accumulate things for ourselves. Giving is in any form our time, money, advise , an ear,love etc. Let us all be zealous in finding what our purpose is on this side of the earth.

  • rose
    04.09.2018

    Great read. I could heart this twice. Take home message: Do something; pay school fees for an orphan.

  • James
    04.09.2018

    There’s a great hope, a shinning hope when you see the blue structures-centres for the NGO in Kibra, hope to the sick & less disavantaged girls including youth….. and now in several slums in Kenya.

  • Ocampo
    04.09.2018

    The funny thing about these success stories is the unknown labour that goes into it before you actually blossom into the visible success…..its a bloody affair. How did he start it? Then what?

    Ultimately its usually worth it, we can pursue our purposes now!

  • abdullah omar
    04.09.2018

    succulent plumps from the slums

  • Brendan KASYABA
    04.09.2018

    Poignant indeed.

  • Tabby
    04.09.2018

    Thanks Biko……what an inspirational read

  • K.M
    04.09.2018

    Nice read, I can’t wait to read the book. Keep up Biko!!

  • winnie cheroo
    04.09.2018

    it is the best one yet,

  • Anne Onyancha
    04.09.2018

    Wow! Great read.

  • Iano
    04.09.2018

    I have always loved to here this story..like deep inside I wanted to see yoy write a story from the ‘ghetto’.
    Now you just brushed the top.
    Biko lemme challenge you for a change ..take your family on a walk huko kwa slums and interact with them people out there fingers crossed you’ll come out alive monsure

  • Kelvin Kinyua
    04.09.2018

    Wow…This is so inspiring..Learnt to be selfless. It is sad how we try to avoid the other side of life. Yet a majority of us have roots there.

    1
  • D
    04.09.2018

    I have always kind of known my passion and purpose in life.
    But…. obviously I have ignored that fire within me because of the other “important ” things I have had to do i.e be done with college (the first bad choice) get a job, move out, be successful.
    No one told me though….. seeing as you spend about 8-12 hours of the day at work you better be happy with what you do. You better have a passion for it. Sigh
    This post though is my wake up call…. at 26 i have been in like 4-6 jobs and none of them have been satisfactory.

    My destiny. My purpose is to make a child somewhere in the world happy. To be a mother to the motherless. To be a provider to those who can’t afford the little things in life.

    After reading this… I now realise I will never make enough money to start so I better start small. Better start now.

    Thanks BIKO for this post. It’s so inspirational.

    Hopefully in a year or two. I will have a story for you.
    Ok bye.

    5
  • SheWolfeEats
    04.09.2018

    Why do black African people still have to be associated with white people for them to realize their plight? Their success?
    Neo-colonialism is a flesh in the thorn.

    Can he, Odede envision his life with a local Kenyan girl? African girl?

    Biko#great story teller. However, your brand and your stories make people afraid to offer criticisms and diverging views.

    TBC…to be continued

    Odede..as per article, met the richest and poorest.
    Did he meet himself?

    3
    • Sos
      05.09.2018

      Now this is the kind of thinking that gets my antennas up.

      2
    • Wangari
      06.09.2018

      SheWolfeEats go ahead and have your say. Every story has two sides.
      I don’t think Biko is afraid of taking harsh criticism.
      Otherwise our own devils advocate aka Charles Kagana would have been blocked by Biko’s team from the comment section and burnt at the stake by Biko’s followers.
      You could always trust Charles to come up with the most controversial comment and pandisha temperatures here. He has not been seen or heard of in a long time. Hope he is well. He is missed.
      Anyway as my mum says no one is a 100%. So we choose the odds that we like. Im going with the half full glass.
      But would still like to hear your views hata kama Biko ata catch feelings.

      1
      • Yvonne❤
        07.09.2018

        ❤❤❤ i love your honesty.wish you luck.

    • Norah Orina
      20.09.2018

      White people, black people, what is that? It doesn’t exist. They are all the same: people [Said in the article]. But isn’t the reality true that some people just have better opportunities to provide, more resources that other people don’t have? Well, I guess anyone would gladly hop on an opportunity regardless of the person providing it because that person helps you keep hope alive. Unfortunately, hope is kept alive with resources and opportunity, of which poverty is not closely related with. So it’s not neo-colonialism, it’s the lack of opportunity.

  • sercie
    04.09.2018

    Good read,people like Kennedy make me feel not all is lost..some of us out here got our backs covered
    God you Sir

  • Gold
    04.09.2018

    I think, it’s not about me,sometimes I think it’s all about me,,my purpose is beyond my emotional needs …

  • Daniel okoth
    05.09.2018

    The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but life without a purpose. It’s dangerous to live and not know why you were given life – Dr. Myles sums up this piece very well.

  • SteveTheWriter
    05.09.2018

    Wow! I am an upcoming writer but when I read this, I paused, and said le’me do my homework before I do my book. Biko has taken writing to a whole new level. Superb!

    1
  • K.M
    05.09.2018

    Great piece!! I can’t wait to read the book.

  • Bittok
    05.09.2018

    Great piece Biko. It has inspired me into thinking about my contributions to the society

  • Wachu
    05.09.2018

    Wah…

    Purpose… Touching lives

    God help the middle / whatever class to believe they can make a difference and not turn a blind eye to our reality.

  • Saida
    05.09.2018

    I can relate to the entire story because just like odede, i was born and raised in Kibera slums. Like he said, breaking from the cycle of poverty is not easy. I have seen generations locked up in the vicious cycle of poverty. We need to applaud and support the good work people like Kennedy are doing to improve the lives of the disadvantaged. Thank you Biko for airing this story.

  • The Duchess
    05.09.2018

    Brilliant piece! .. but time and chance happen to them all. Ecclesiates 9

    1
  • Vanessa
    05.09.2018

    Biko, this may be the best piece you have written yet, and I have read and enjoyed quite a few of yours!

  • Krystal
    05.09.2018

    Teaching your kids purpose in life, their purpose in life. It’s easier said than done. Especially when you’re searching for your own.

  • Louis Wamukoya
    05.09.2018

    Thanks for this inspiring read.

  • Sos
    05.09.2018

    “…bring both!” hahahahaha airplane attendants, or should i call them ‘Emissaries from Nimbus’ are not serious most of the time. how can you ask a luo from the slums like me if they would have fish or chicken? of cause i will have chicken, and then the fish. Thank you Biko for this story and the others ones we are yet to read. God works in ways we can never fully understand and unique to everyone.

    1
  • Leona B
    05.09.2018

    Wow!
    Great lessons on humility and balance. I love this piece.
    I also like the fact that Tamms did not nod off.
    She catches on fast.

  • Jules
    05.09.2018

    This is such a good read Biko, this is what gives one hope to keep going, to strive to be better…for once a man has made my ovaries to look forward to its off springs, and its in the most beautiful way.
    thank you

  • Ndagitari
    05.09.2018

    Opportunity is rare, talent is Global… A masterpiece You shall go to heaven Biko, no queue…

  • Milcah
    05.09.2018

    “….poverty is a trap, a maze, you walk in there trying to find the exit and you don’t because the world has locked you in.” This statement has struck me deep. And it reminds me of the last line of Coggins poem “The Development Set”.
    I’d heard snippets of SHOFCO but hearing it from the man himself is insightful. Good job Odede. It’s a good thing you did not fall in the trap of a high end job in New York, because it would stifle your creativity. I’m now out to look for your book. And thanks Biko for making me laugh even when I was teary in some parts.

  • Kusa-lady
    05.09.2018

    There is great joy in giving, greater joy in many people smiling than in only you smiling- Inspiring.

    1
  • Shirmon
    05.09.2018

    “You know they say people in slums are lazy and don’t work hard, but how much harder does one have to work when a woman wakes up at 4am to go to Marikiti market to buy tomatoes? How much harder can a man work when he rises at 4am to walk many kilometers to Industrial Area to work in a factory? Poverty isn’t about how hard you work; poverty is a trap, a maze, you walk in there trying to find the exit and you don’t because the world has locked you in.”

    1
  • Judith Adhiambo
    05.09.2018

    This is really inspiring and a soul searching article. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “What are you doing for others?”- Martin Luther King, Jr
    Thanks Biko. Nice read.

    1
  • Sarah
    05.09.2018

    Best interview in a long long time.. Loved it..

  • Quest
    05.09.2018

    “He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
    And obtains favor from the Lord”. Kennedy is a living testimony.

  • Nyabar
    06.09.2018

    I love that you pick up your daughter from school everyday. And that you apologized for being late. And that you that you engage her. Beautiful twists and development of the story.

  • Michael mwangi
    06.09.2018

    Well done Kennedy. Hi Five

  • Philip
    06.09.2018

    “Poverty makes you invisible, a sub-human,” he says. “It takes away your dignity, you lose your confidence and your voice, your opinion is neither needed nor sought. You lose your voice. This is why during elections the poor in the slums go to the streets, it’s a desperate attempt to remind you that we exist, that we are here and you can’t continue pretending that we don’t exist.”…..Thats life

  • Pk
    06.09.2018

    Best story I’ve read in a while. Beautiful.

  • berina
    06.09.2018

    ““Because we forget to teach our children the purpose of life. We show them money. I have a lot of billionaires in America sending their children to Kibera to see the other side of life. They come. Why? You have to remind them it’s not about money. It’s good to have enough and know what is enough and be comfortable with what is enough. There are things we will never buy for our children, that I won’t be able to buy for my son, and it’s showing them the value of giving, or being a human being with compassion. Show them both worlds, balance their world.”

    I loved every word in the article. All of it.

  • Salome Caroline Gachiku Wandui
    07.09.2018

    It feels that the articles and books i’m reading nowadays are pushing me to stop feeling sorry for myself and instead focus on people who really need help. This is one of those reads and I appreciate it.

  • xwaustin
    07.09.2018

    Very deep this one. The wisdom in his final sentiments is immense, makes me realise we teach nothing to our children about purpose or happiness. Real happiness. Not the days we extend our pockets so that they can have a good time, not the desserts and the fast foods and the little things other kids at school cant afford. We forget to teach them the vanity of ownership, of having. Until they find that out on their own, and face their demons in cocoons of plenty and cupfuls of emptiness. Alone, afraid and with no knowledge of how else a life can be lived.

  • Kim
    07.09.2018

    I have no words….Deep would best describe it in English

  • Amondi
    07.09.2018

    Loved this piece. I’ve read it about thrice now & shared with friends & family.
    It makes you want to do better. To do more.
    I could picture the two of you at the restaurant talking, especially in dholuo, & high fiving, made me smile. I worked in Siaya for 5 years & realised much later that I had picked up the habit of high fiving! Is it a Luo thing??
    Great read.

  • MKD
    07.09.2018

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Kennedy and i have visited SHOFCO, My family has a little school in Kibera where we provide super subsidised eduction to needy kids. That place always give me perspective, it is a whole other world … thank you for writing Biko.

    4
  • Chrenyan
    08.09.2018

    It took me a while to get past this line:

    He had never in his life been presented with choice before and suddenly he had a menu before him and a menu represented choice.

    It reminded me of something a great man in my life once said that has stayed with me ever since because these are the problems in live that are really worth solving: “Poverty is a lack of options.”

  • Najib Arai
    08.09.2018

    Wow!…. This Got me deeply engrossed….

  • Adala
    08.09.2018

    This is the definition of purpose and inspiration in a story. These are the kind of stories we need repeating and emphasizing on each other in our TVs and newspapers daily & weekly. If only..! For what is humanity if not this? This is Kenyanism. Not the politics and handshakes. People like Odede and others around us need to be in our ears to remind us we need to take care of each other. To see each other smiling. That it’s possible and it’s happening. We need to find more of such ‘movements’ and highlight them out to raise their impact. Thank you Biko

  • Wachira
    08.09.2018

    no prophet is accepted in his hometown

    1
  • Dennis Mwai
    09.09.2018

    “I have gotten many lucrative job offers; a UN posting in New York, an opportunity to manage hedge funds, but I said no, because then I would be doing it for myself not for my community in Kibera. ”

    The most selfless person I’ve come across. Keep lifting others Kennedy.
    Inspirational story.

  • Wamugi
    10.09.2018

    This is awesome Biko, really deep and true. Philanthropy ahould be one of the aspects that define a person’s being, amd should be ranked way higher than wealth.

  • Mark
    10.09.2018

    Amazing story, Biko. Kennedy is an inspiration.
    A much-needed reminder to view people as people.

    1
  • Bundi
    10.09.2018

    It is inspiring what Odede has been able to do for his community as well as himself. And especially, when he says that he has found true happiness in rising with people.

  • John
    10.09.2018

    I really not a fan of inspirational articles/books, but this has inspired me, because it’s so raw, real and has genuine honesty written all over it. Big up!

  • Rehtes
    10.09.2018

    I feel so inspired and challenged. Still searching for my purpose but it hasn’t been easy.

  • Daina
    11.09.2018

    This is quite an inspiring story. I am inspired. Thank you Biko for this.

  • Miriam
    11.09.2018

    I am one of those people who rarely comments but this is such a great read; funny, real and inspirational.. I was almost “high fiving” lol…

    But you know what is not confusing, Biko? I found the secret of happiness?”
    What is that?
    “Rising with people. When I walk in Kibera I’m not the only one walking with his head held high. Mothers and girls and boys are.

  • David
    11.09.2018

    Wow! Just wow. Very very interesting. And humorous too. Now I gotta read Ken’s book, and visit Kibera, and wondering whether it is better on a weekday or weekend? Should I drive there or park a long the Ngong road and walk? Jeeze.

  • Elvira
    11.09.2018

    Wow! So inspiring. Balance their life it is.

  • Got the book this morning! so inspiring! One of those books you refuse to put down.
    I think God rewarded Kennedy’s persistence and helped bring his dreams to fruition. Was saddened though by his childhood experiences with one catholic “father” who pretended to help. shocking.
    I see myself getting involved in this project.

    1
  • Zetty
    11.09.2018

    I found the secret of happiness..it is in rising with people
    Another…Greed is prostitution you want this you want that you want some other…money can never be enough
    What more can I say…talent is global so keep dreaming.Cheers Baba!!

  • Judd
    12.09.2018

    One of my best read….an eye opener
    A story with mixed emotions

  • eayuma
    13.09.2018

    This is such a good read.

  • Mso
    17.09.2018

    I know I have heard the name…But it’s a shame I didn’t really take the interest to know Odede and his work before this article..In essence, very few people in Kenya know him, accept and support his work….This is a perfect analogy of what Jesus said, “a prophet is not accepted is in his hometown”

  • Tshique
    17.09.2018

    “I always say that opportunity is scarce, but talent is global” word! Great read Biko

  • Joy
    18.09.2018

    Such a wonderful and inspiring read.Truly greed is prostitution .we got to have a purpose for living .good read Biko

  • JudgeandJury..
    18.09.2018

    I also want someone to point at my nipple and whisper divine-truths about life.
    Either way, part of me was thinking of how incredibly amazing it would be if Biko had a one on one with the late Chinua Achebe….i know hes dead and all…but damn, what a conversation that would be……
    Great story Biko, some of us live for moments like these when we could join in on a conversation without actually being there…
    Quite inspiring this story.

  • jngethe
    20.09.2018

    “You know they say people in slums are lazy and don’t work hard, but how much harder does one have to work when a woman wakes up at 4am to go to Marikiti market to buy tomatoes? How much harder can a man work when he rises at 4am to walk many kilometers to Industrial Area to work in a factory? Poverty isn’t about how hard you work; poverty is a trap, a maze, you walk in there trying to find the exit and you don’t because the world has locked you in.” This is so true i could not have said it better.

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  • Ouma Charity
    20.09.2018

    This man Biko! Yaye!! You write, we read, and we are never the same again. No kidding.
    Keep them coming chocolate man.

  • Brian Nzangi
    22.09.2018

    It’s extraordinary how you made your point both in words and in this blog. Great job!

  • Linkman
    25.09.2018

    Fantastic story!

    Since you all refuse to learn Dholuo I will have to translate it into English but it won’t be as funny.
    Biko, I want to learn dholuo. Point me in the right direction.I’m serious.

  • Joyce
    26.09.2018

    First, I laughed my lungs out!,….wine red or white….both!…..vinegar too i still dont know how i missed this release!!
    secondly, I love this story..and love better Odede, the boy from Kibera..This is how he will be remembered..This is how women, girls and friends in Kibera will remember him, How he made everyone belong and be proud of….us the middle class people (I not included) who want to be noticed!!! SMH……. Am proud of the boy who asked for both red and white wine, and vinegar (High five)

  • June
    26.09.2018

    Wow it got me really thinking…

  • Dottie
    26.09.2018

    Sitting at my desk over lunch reading this funny but amazing story, I have laughed mainly at how God has a sense of humor. From slum boy to literally sitting at the table with who is who.
    I didn’t know who Odede was until maybe 10 minutes ago but I’m passing by the book store in search of his book. Thank you Biko!!

  • Wanjiru
    02.10.2018

    Wow…your writing is incredible.It’s really true what they say.One’s never the same after reading your articles

  • Anthony
    08.10.2018

    Thanks to my girlfriend Beatrice for sharing this with me.

  • John K.
    11.10.2018

    Beautiful piece Biko..
    A good read definitely.. When I am trying to find purpose in my own life.
    God bless you man, keep doing your thing. It’s getting to people in a nice way.

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