Kibra Constituency member of parliament Kenneth Odhiambo Okoth first slept on a bed when he joined high school.

This happened when he joined the Starehe Boys Centre in 1992. He had scored 613 out of the possible 700 marks in KCPE.

The MP, who was reelected in the concluded General Election, spoke to the Nairobian about his humble background and how he rose to become a member of parliament.

Is it true that you first slept in a bed when you joined high school?

That is very true. My first night in a bed was in 1992 when I joined Form One at Starehe Boys.

I was raised by a single mother in Kibera. With four elder siblings, a bed and three meals a day were a luxury in our house.

 Tell us a bit about your childhood
 When you are young, you do not realise that you are poor since everyone around you is poor. However, in your teenage years, it dawns on you since you start noticing your surroundings. I was determined to unchain myself from poverty.

Education was the ticket and so I studied really hard. I remember my mum could not raise my high school fees, but I was lucky to get sponsorship since I had excelled in my KCPE.

How did you land the sponsorship?

My first choice was Starehe. That is where my heart was. I scored 613 out of 700 marks in KCPE and I was among students who were chosen to join the school.

After the results, The Standard newspaper journalists visited our school (Olympic Primary School) and the principal asked them to interview me.

I was excited as they took my photos. Little did I know this was the beginning of my success journey. A few day later,  I was contacted by a UK organisation, Save The Children Fund, who sponsored me through high school.

How was life at Starehe Boys?

It was bliss. I had a bed, a pillow, mattress and even my own blanket. I couldn’t believe that I was eating three meals a day.

In fact, in the four years I was in school I went home I think four times. I could not picture going back to Kibera. The school had a swimming pool, computer labs and hot showers.

What happened after finishing high school?

It was the beginning of another struggle. Although I had scored an A minus, I could not afford to study law at the University of Nairobi.

I decided to study languages so I could be a tour guide. I went to Goethe Institute to study German, but I could not afford it.

However, the management employed me as a security guard in the evening so that they could subsidise my school fees.

I also got another job at Nation Media as a newspaper distributor for their offices in town, Ngong Road and Karen. I earned Sh3,000, which was enough to cater for my basic needs.

How did you end up at St Laurence University in New York?

Through delivering newspapers, I always passed by their offices and inquired about their university.

I was excited as they took my photos. Little did I know this was the beginning of my success journey. A few day later,  I was contacted by a UK organisation, Save The Children Fund, who sponsored me through high school.

How was life at Starehe Boys?

It was bliss. I had a bed, a pillow, mattress and even my own blanket. I couldn’t believe that I was eating three meals a day.

In fact, in the four years I was in school I went home I think four times. I could not picture going back to Kibera. The school had a swimming pool, computer labs and hot showers.

What happened after finishing high school?

It was the beginning of another struggle. Although I had scored an A minus, I could not afford to study law at the University of Nairobi.

I decided to study languages so I could be a tour guide. I went to Goethe Institute to study German, but I could not afford it.

However, the management employed me as a security guard in the evening so that they could subsidise my school fees.

I also got another job at Nation Media as a newspaper distributor for their offices in town, Ngong Road and Karen. I earned Sh3,000, which was enough to cater for my basic needs.

How did you end up at St Laurence University in New York?

Through delivering newspapers, I always passed by their offices and inquired about their university.