From the Streets to the University Halls and back to the Streets
My name is Patrick Odhiambo Owino from Kenya. I was born in Ugenya district which is in Siaya county. I am from a family of five siblings where I am the lastborn. We share same mother but different fathers. My mother died when I was five years old and so I know very little about her.
I was raised by my Grandmother. Due to financial constraints, none of my siblings ever attended school. My grandma too died early in my life and we had to seek refuge from our relatives.
I was taken by one or our relatives who took me to stay with them in Nairobi when I was 10. This is when I started my nursery and kindergarten. Although late, all went well till when I was in class three when things started going bad and worse. The mistreatment I experienced from my relative made me drop out of school and start living in the street of Nairobi. The streets were much better compared to the difficulties that I was enduring at my relative’s home. I stayed in the streets for almost two and half years.
Unexpectedly I met a group of other children who convinced me to accompany them to a local church operated Street Children Center in 2005. There at the St.Benefict Street Children center run by Catholic missionaries from Germany, I met a Social Worker Dan Amolo. I was enrolled into a rehabilitation program for one year before admission into a Boarding school because I had no family or relatives to stay with.
Ever since I never looked back but always kept focus on my education. I completed my primary education in 2010 and I passed well to be admitted into a District high school in Meru District. The Center in Nairobi paid part of my fees and the school also gave me a partial Scholarship based on my good Class performance.
I finished my secondary school education in the year 2013 after which moved back to my life in the streets of Nairobi. When my results cam out, I was happy to have scored a mean grade of B+.
Joining a college wasn’t all that easy as my sponsors told me that they had done their best in ensuring that I had obtained the basic education needed. I had to sort for other forms of funding my university education. This made me to seek for teaching opportunity from former secondary school where they really welcomed me too. I was assigned to teach Mathematics and Physics subjects. The payment was 2500 (25 USD)/- per month. From this I made some savings because I know University student life would be difficult. I applied for Higher Education Loans from the government. It was by God’s grace that my application went through and was awarded a loan even though it was not enough to support me fully at the Taita Taveta University. I was forced to skip classes many times to seek casual work to to be able to feed myself.
Things worsened and at some point I contemplated dropping out but i soldiered on till I graduated with an Upper 2nd BSc Statistics (Pure Maths) in 2018.
Since my graduation all hasn’t gone well for me as seeking an employment opportunity hasn’t been that easy. I have been applying for several job opportunities but all have been in vain. I survived by doing manual work at construction sites and carrying luggage for travelers on my back.
I made some savings of about 40 USD and started a small roadside kiosk selling electronic stuff like fone chargers and earphones.
This has been my life in the last 3:years. I actually live in that roadside Kiosk because I cannot pay rent in a normal residential house. Although I have faced challenges such as enough capital to expand the venture, the little returns that I get, keeps me going and I am hopeful that things will be better.
I appreciate the chance given to me by the Children Center that rescued me and put me through to Education path.
Patrick Odhiambo Owino.