In 2016, Moses Ondu for the second time participated in the Kenya National Schools Drama Festivals.
The event which brings together learning institutions from across the country was held in Meru.
“When the festivals came to an end, I returned home to resume the usual idleness,” he said.
Ondu had been doing casual jobs for his upkeep, but would jump to help schools with drama trainings during the festival seasons.
So this time round, he was training Kudho Primary School located within Obunga Slums in Kisumu.
Fortunately, he took the school to the national level of the fete with a traditional dramatised dance, which took position three in the category.
“This good performance motivated me, and I wanted to engage myself in drama without necessarily waiting for the next season of the festival,” he said.
And it was from this point that he begun drama classes in Obunga, starting with the pupils he had trained at Kudho.
Soon, the interest for his services grew and more children joined.
Who is Moses Ondu?
The second born in a family of seven children attended Kanyamedha Primary School and Kisumu Boys High School, where he ironically, did not participate in any drama festivals.
“I was always being pushed by the drama teacher to join the club, but since I was not confident enough I could escape after a few days,” he says as he hands over one of the guitars to his students.
It was after high school that Ondu decided to make an attempt to showcase his talent.
He joined one of the renowned theatre groups in Kisumu to perform stage plays and act set books in schools.
It is here that the thespian gains skills in both creative and performing arts and together with a friend they began training various institutions across the region for drama festivals.
With the consistent interaction with the children, Ondu developed the desire and skills to identify and nurture their talents.
The Melodious Sitting Room
From a distance, you are likely to hear melodious tunes from a piano, guitar or flute piecing through the air during quiet evenings around Kogony village, in Kisumu Central.
The sounds would probably be emanating from the tiny living room of Ondu’s ‘simba’.
This room has since been transformed into a theatre where about 30 children are trained on various artistic skills.
“I did not have money to secure a rented place in town, so I returned home and thought my living room can play that role for the time being,” he said.
He adds: “Most of this children come from a poor background. You do not expect me to ask for anything from their families.”
With no formal employment, Ondu has managed to secure some music instruments using his meagre and irregular income.
His hope is that things will get better so that he gets better instruments and a better space to nurture the talents.
The Young Stars
The kids from Kisumu Multi Talents are familiar faces in Kisumu’s entertainment industry, gracing almost every occasion.
With one of their own Shirley Akinyi, a climate change activist putting their name in the map, the mates are now out to showcase other talents.
Benjamin Onyango, 14, is now the next rising star with his ability to play four instruments and is also a singer.
“We want to make our own band just like Sauti Sol,” Benjamin says as his mates nod in unison.
The children have since performed in various events with the latest being the Kisumu World Wetlands day.
Their biggest challenge now remains a training ground and more equipment to perfect their art.
Making Art a Profession
Ondu has since received several invitations to train and nature talents from kids in various institutions.
As a talent developer, he finds a challenge from parents who never want their children to participate in any form of art despite their talents.
“Many a times parents come to take away their children from the training sessions saying that it is a waste of time,” he says.
However, Moses says lately there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as most parents have started realizing the importance of art.