ABOUT Janepher Otieno & Fiona Okwado
I have known Janepher Otieno for 7 years. She is the most humble, caring, kind, knowledgeable and disciplined person I have ever met. I feel so blessed to have known Janepher as both a colleague and friend.
She held my hand as a new immigrant in many ways that include advice on retirement savings, college fee savings for my daughters and mortgage. Janepher has financial discipline and has helped me a lot in considering the needs and wants of a parent. She is a successful real estate investor who has held hands of several other first time home buyers, helping ease the process.
As a mother, I learned so much from Janepher. She has daily devotionals with her children and they are grounded in strong faith. I learned, from Janepher, that each child is special and needs special time with mom. As a result, I now have one-on-one outings with my own daughters. The one-on-one outings have strengthened my bond with my daughters – for that I thank Janepher with all my heart.
Janepher is a single parent who is raising four children. One of her children has special needs and she has done a wonderful job to coordinate her would-be-overwhelming life around her family very successfully.
I feel so blessed to have Janepher in my life. I call her my financial adviser, my life coach, spiritual adviser, and mentor. Janepher is widely read, a caring person and a great listener who listens to understand others. By laying out options on the table and drawing out perspectives from others, she makes others feel valued and capable.
Janepher is a friendly person who is always ready to help and share her knowledge and wisdom with everybody. At work, she is approachable: staff and students feels comfortable asking her to help. I believe her presence enlightens the working environment.
I am inspired by her hard work and strength. I have never heard a sentence of complaint coming from her mouth but instead she is full of energy and power to cope with challenges of life. I know we all have ups and downs in life but Janepher’s strength and faith are so strong. She has many challenges in life but she is committed to make the best out of life. She is a true warrior, who raised her kids in a balanced way, maintaining a great work and home life balance.
I remember her coming to the hospital when my daughter had surgery. I was able to see just how helpful she can be. She is someone who performs from her heart. This act reflected her commitment to another human being.
Janepher is a hardworking professional and a role model. She possesses great leadership skills as well. I have learned so many things from her and I like her approach and attitude. It is my pleasure to have a friend like her who accepts individuals for who they are.
I have known Janepher Otieno for about 19 years now. She was God-sent to me for since we first met she has touched me and my family more than anyone else in my life (being the humble woman she is, this is something she will deny outright!). She has been there during the happy times and also during some very hard times.
Janepher became my neighbour a year after I arrived in Canada when both our spouses decided to sponsor their families to join them here in Canada. I quickly noticed that she was a gentle, always smiling, hardworking woman with friendly children. I felt that I wanted to know her better.
Having left a very negatively tribalistic country I was relieved that Janepher did not mind that I was from a different (and rival) tribe. I would meet her at the garden plots picking her vegetables and would admire her friendliness, composure and sense of confidence that she exuded; this has not changed despite some very hard times she has gone through.
Soon I started sharing with her my troubles because I felt I could trust her. I felt that she understood and truly cared about my welfare. I also felt that she did not judge me for my failures and many bad decisions I continued to make in my life. For that I grew to respect and trust her greatly.
I knew Janepher was a Christian as soon as I met her. Her demeanor and humility could only come from a deep commitment and relationship to her Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. This was and continues to be demonstrated by the fact that Janepher never finds fault with anyone; not even those who have hurt her beyond imagination. She always tries to find logic and rationale in the actions of others however wrong they may be. I find this trait very aggravating to the core of my very being; maybe because I can never understand how she can forgive so easily! Deep down I am jealous that she can forgive so easily and not count the cost; just letting those who have hurt her off the hook so easily! Yet I realize that through her actions she emulates Jesus and His teachings about forgiveness.
Janepher has looked out for me and my welfare since we met. Many are the times when she has spent sleepless nights thinking about something I shared with her. Sometimes she is filled with such distress that she takes unexpected measures to take away my pain. I know she is like this to others too but I feel as if she treats me very specially when I am hurting. I am many years older than Janepher but she has made me come to the realization that she is my best friend; the best friend I have ever had (and probably will ever have).
What makes me admire Janepher most is her love for her children. As a single mother of 4 children one of whom is a special needs child, Janepher has gone to the greatest depths to ensure that her children’s needs are always met. They never lack good food, clothing, education, and recreation. Her spiritual counsel to her children is unparalleled; she is the only mother I know who gets stressed out because she did not have a devotional time with her children. The fact that her children now do devotional even in her absence is a testament to the effectiveness of her efforts to raise her children to follow Christ and become right standing and responsible citizens. Her efforts to ensure that her now adult special needs son stays at home under her self managed care is beyond admirable; it has not always been easy. Janepher’s life and schedule revolves around this son and she does it without a single complaint. How she does it is a wonder! Coordinating all his care givers and their various and different schedules is simply a miracle.
Janepher is a very smart and highly gifted woman. Not only does she hold a degree in Education and a Masters degree in Fine Arts, she also holds a degree with honors in Nursing from the University of Alberta, Canada. Janepher has been a lecturer at Kenyatta University in Kenya, a nurse in various hospitals in Edmonton, and continues to be an instructor of nursing here in Edmonton. She has always had a business going on the side; the latest being an enviably successful real estate business. To top it all, Janepher is currently writing a book while working on a website to act as a source of information and guidance to single parents and care givers from all walks of life.
I am in awe of my friend Janepher and her achievements while maintaining immeasurable humility and generosity. But most of all I admire her strong resolve to let go of the past and move on with life to more fruitfulness and fulfillment for her and her family. I am honored and privileged that God brought her into my life. I have seen God work in Janepher’s life in ways not explainable in human terms. For that I will continue to look upon her as God’s Billboard. God has ministered to me multiple times through Janepher’s life and through her I have seen the faithfulness of God. May God continue to bless Janepher, her family and her endeavors so that she may continue to be a blessing to many, all to the glory of God the Father. Amen.