WhatsApp group building Sh1.8m house for Sukuma bin Ongaro

A jovial Mr Sukuma Bin Ongaro poses at the site of the house that is being constructed for him by former pupils of St Peter's Mumias Boys Primary School pupils at his home in Ebukambuli village, Khwisero constituency in Kakamega.

Photo credit: Shaban Makokha | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Raging waters from the River Yala flooded the artiste's compound, destroyed crops and property, forcing him to relocate his family to a neighbour’s home.
  • But he has since gotten help from a group of former pupils of St Peter’s Mumias Boys Primary School.

When floods wreaked havoc in parts of Kakamega County, in March this year, legendary benga artiste Wilson Omutere was among thousands of families which were displaced from their homes by the torrential rains.
Mr Omutere, popularly known as Sukuma bin Ongaro, lives in Ebukambuli Emutetemo village, Mulwanda area of Kisa Central location in Khwisero constituency, Kakamega County.
His home was destroyed when River Yala broke its banks. The raging waters from the river flooded his compound, destroyed crops and property, forcing him to relocate his family to a neighbour’s home.
But every dark cloud has a silver lining.

Life for Mr Ongaro, 74, who is married to two wives, Beatrice Ayoyi and Rose Khatenje, was about to change after his misfortune.

Masons at work on the ongoing construction of a modern house for Benga artiste Sukuma Bin Ongaro at Ebukambuli village in Khwisero. The house is funded by a Whatsapp group consisting of former pupils of St Peters Mumias Boys Primary School.

Photo credit: Shaban Makokha | Nation Media Group

Undeterred, the father of 12 made an appeal on social and mainstream media asking for assistance to rebuild his home.

His pleas reached far and wide. In May, an NGO by the name ‘Aseka Miradi Foundation’ donated foodstuff and constructed for him a semi-permanent house. The group bought 33 iron sheets to roof the house.
He also got the support of a group of former pupils of St Peter’s Mumias Boys Primary School.

“When we heard of our brother Sukuma bin Ongaro's plight we were very concerned and decided to do something for him,” said Bernard Washika, one of the group’s administrators.

Mr Washika said the group formed a WhatsApp group to raise funds which would be given to its members on their birthdays.
The group, comprising more than 200 members, decided to use the money they had already raised to support Sukuma bin Ongaro by constructing a modern house for him and furnishing it.

House construction

“In May, we decided to collect funds from members through M-Pesa and visited Ongaro's home to start constructing the house. We could not sit back and watch Ongaro going through misery after what happened to him and his family,” said Mr Washika.
Mr Ongaro said he pleasantly surprised when people he did not know visited him with masons to lay the foundation of his new house.
“They introduced themselves and told me that they were my fans. They said they had been touched by my plight. I did not believe it when they showed me the plan of the house they intended to build for me," said Ongaro noting that God had answered his prayers.
The group, which consists of professionals in various fields, raised Sh1.8 million for the construction of the house which will be complete by December 25 when all members will celebrate their Christmas at bin Ongaro’s new home.
The three-bed roomed house also has two toilets, kitchen, dining room, a store and kitchen with a spacious sitting room.
“Once the house is complete, we will furnish it with modern furniture, a gas cylinder, a cooker and a colour TV set. We want people visiting Ongaro to understand that he is a man who deserves respect due his contributions in society,” Washika said.
“I have been hearing of miracles and I didn’t know a miracle would one day come way in my life. I have seen the power of angels intervening in my life to put a smile back on my face," the artiste said, adding that he had no money to construct a decent house.


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