Meet Form Three student who built Raila’s ‘State House’ dummy

Wellington Otieno, 17, shows off the 'Statehouse' art that he made  at their home in Majengo slums on the outskirts of Narok town on May 23,2022

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

It was a dream come true. The vision conceived two years ago was realised as his ‘State House’ dummy landed in the hands of his favourite presidential candidate.

On Sunday, Narok residents were wowed by a magnificent miniature State House, complete with the national flag, leaving them curious about the talent behind it.

Master Wellington Otieno, 17, a Form Three student at Masikonde Day Secondary School, on the outskirts of Narok town, is the architect behind the art.

The firstborn in a family of three, Otieno told the Nation that he got the idea in 2019 when he was in Form One but it was not until two months ago that he got to actualise it.

Wellington Otieno, 17, shows off the 'Statehouse' art that he made  at their home in Majengo slums on the outskirts of Narok town on May 23,2022

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

"I have made several artworks such as buses and I have even made a model of my dream house but the ‘State House' was my biggest project," said Otieno.

Raised by a single mother with his younger sister, Otieno reveals that he was always banking on his talent to one day fend for his family and handing his biggest project to ODM leader Raila Odinga was going to be a breakthrough for him but it never got to be.

When Mr Odinga saw the State House model, he was openly excited and called his running mate Martha Karua and they took photos.

"Hiyo ni nini? Hiyo ni ikulu? Patia Martha (What's that? Is it State House? Hand it to Martha.) Hawa vijana wamepatia mimi State House,” Mr Odinga said.

Itakuwa maskani yangu na Martha atakuwa na ofisi hapo ndani. Kuja tupige picha hapa mbele ya State House yetu (These youths have gifted me the State House.

That will be my residence and Martha will have an office inside it. Come we take a photo with our State House)," said Mr Odinga when he received the gift.

Behind the spectacular artwork, he says, was hard work and investment.

"When I shared the vision of constructing the 'State House' with my mum, she was impressed but she told me that it will not be possible because she did not have money for the materials," Otieno narrated.

Wellington Otieno,17, displays a bus he made. Beside him is his mother Jael Achieng.

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

He says that, instead, his mother told him to go to church to seek divine intervention.

"I went to our church, Word of Faith, and told my pastor. He prayed for me and gave me some cash to actualise my dream. I was elated," he adds.

He says that it took him four weeks of the recent third term holiday to work on his project to his satisfaction.

The 'State House’, he says, was made using plastics and cartons and it lights up at night using dry cells. He says the work cost Sh6,000.

Before the material day, Otieno discloses, he was coming from class on a Saturday when he met a friend, who hinted to him that Mr Odinga and his Azimio One Kenya team would be in Narok and he vowed to seize the moment by presenting his gift to him. So easy he thought it would be.

He and his mom, Ms Jael Achieng, took a tuktuk for Sh400 and off they headed to William ole Ntimama Stadium to present the gift to Mr Odinga.

"We tucked ourselves in the huge crowd guarding our 'State House', but as the crowd continued swelling there was a need for space. Some people snatched it from us, lifted it up and off it went to the dais," he says.

They were left helpless in the middle of the crowd as they watched in dismay some youths take advantage of his sweat.

"I was happy that my work had been recognised but I was pained that I was not the one presenting it to 'Baba' (Mr Odinga). We went back home dejected," says Otieno.

Masikonde Day Secondary school Principal Ms Caroline Rono (left) congratulates Master Wellington Otieno after he made a 'statehouse' model at their home in Majengo slums in the outskirts of Narok town on May 23, 2022

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

He was even more disappointed that the gift was not taken by his target and instead was returned to him.

Masikonde Day Secondary School Principal Caroline Rono described Otieno as a unique talent that should be harnessed.

"When I watched it in the news, I was amazed by the art. It looked so real! I had not known that it was my own student who did it. I wished I was there. I feel I lost a glorious moment," she says.

She says that having a piece of art done by one of her students getting national attention was a great honour.

"[Otieno] is a humble boy. He made the art out of his heart and he did not know that it was a big thing. As Masikonde, we feel we are winners. His success is our success," says Ms Rono.

She exudes confidence that if the budding artist gets the right institution to nurture his talent he will change the life of his family and society.

Otieno's mum, Ms Achieng, speaks highly of her son, describing him as an 'indoors' person who hates being idle.

"I am always happy for him. He is hardworking in class and when he is free, he stays in the house making his arts," she reveals.

She says that being the sole breadwinner, she had no money to enable her son to realise his dream.

Ms Achieng also expresses her disappointment that her son was not recognised for his masterpiece.

"I was saddened when I saw it being reported that a group of youth from Narok gifted Mr Odinga the 'State House ' yet it was my son who made it single-handedly," she regrets.

Otieno and his mother are, however, still optimistic that they will have a chance to present the gift to their favourite presidential candidate.

"I still want to present this gift to him in person so that he keeps it until he ascends to the real State House. I would also love to visit the real State House and even meet the current occupant, President Uhuru Kenyatta," says Otieno.

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