Origi donates food to street families in Nairobi amid Covid-19 pandemic
It is late morning in Calif estate in Nairobi’s eastlands. A group of five is busy making a feast for a ‘special category’ of people.
The process takes at least 4 hours because the meal they are preparing is for around 100 individuals who rarely have access to food.
Once the cooking is done, the food is then packed neatly in containers for disbursement to families who don’t have a permanent place to stay and who live from hand to mouth, literally.
A fellow Kenyan who is thousands of kilometers away in Finland has funded this initiative to support the underprivileged.
This Kenyan happens to be none other than ‘Kenya One’ Arnold Origi, a former Harambee Stars goalie who plies his trade in the Scandinavian with Finish top-tier league side IFK Helsingfors.
According to Origi, 36, this act has been fuelled by concern.
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, regimes are putting in place measures to cushion the less fortunate members of the society but amidst it all, one cadre of people – street families – are forgotten.
Origi warns that such families could face even tougher times in the face of the pandemic.
His philanthropy is so far targeting the street families in Pangani and Dandora area in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
“Seeing a mother in pain not only hurts but breaks my heart. I’m aware how these street mothers of Nairobi, for example, survive from leftovers.
In some cases they rely on good-hearted Kenyans in the streets of Nairobi to buy them food,” he said revealing the softer side of him.
The initiative is a brainchild of former Harambee Stars custodian who currently plays professionally with IFK Helsingfors in Finland.
He joined the club in 2019 after spending 11 years in Norway playing at Moss FK, Fredrikstad, Uilensanker, and Lillestrøm SK.
In his formative days, Origi, son to Kenya’s great and former Gor Mahia captain Austin Oduor turned out for Mathare United and Tusker FC.
He has been in Finland for more than a year but this season was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. But unlike other European countries, Finland did not institute a countrywide shutdown.
“The gyms are still open; the public transport is still functioning as normal. Few people go to work, the schools have been closed,” he said adding that, “Professionally, I have been affected just like any other professional player, there is no training with the club, and the only time you can train is on your own in the gym.”
With the pandemic hitting the globe in a scale never witnessed before, Origi has been closely monitoring the situation back home in Kenya and sought financial support from his teammates, and friends to provide weekly meals for the families.
He also reached out to his friend in Kenya who is a chef to help prepare the food.
“We have a dedicated chef; they make out different menus for different days. On Day One we did pilau and fruits, Day Two we did ugali, sukumawiki na nyama, Day Three we did mchele na ndengu, Day Four we did chapatti na maharagwe; that’s how we donate,” he explained.
Although the initiative was triggered by the outbreak in Kenya, Origi has long term plans to support street families in the two areas.
“We don’t want to just support with food and when the pandemic is over we disappear, because in the group we are dealing with, there are mothers who have potential, and they want to do something with their lives, and start fending for themselves to support their families.”
Origi is using the free time to introspect on his personal goals and will be waiting patiently for Finland’s health situation to improve so that he can resume his goalkeeping duties at his club.
“The coronavirus has slowed things down; all of a sudden you have so much time in your hands. I am aware of reading books, in your development and as a player; I wasn’t doing that as much. With this pandemic, the time to do that, get the hang of it, how much I enjoy it,” he concluded.
Finland has recorded over 4000 coronavirus cases and 141 deaths.