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  • Otieno Okatch

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I was born in 1990 to family of car enthusiasts. I remember my first big boy bed was a yellow race car with a mattress inside. My baby walker was stationed in dad’s garage, so he can property watch me as he dove into car engines. I bet my first word was truck!





I can trace my first love to a 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starliner. She was a beauty. My dad and uncle worked on its engine for about three weeks. During those weeks, I learned to identify the major parts of a car engine; I learned to change the oil and add water to a car. That green beauty demanded a lifelong pursuit of cars. I was captivated.


When my dad learned of my interest in cars, he bought a 1970 Thunderbird at an auction. It was a true piece of junk. It didn’t even turn on! The tires were flat; the engine rattled like a poisons viper; the brakes squealed like a hog, and the smell, sharp, as if inhaling ammonia. I couldn’t help but be slightly offended. Pepper turned out to be my biggest blessing- my smelly blessing.


The day Pepper arrived I was excited to remove the engine, trash the transmission, scrape the paint, tear out the seats: there was so much to do!

“Hold your horses, Son,” my dad quickly reeled me back in. That day, I learned that a good mechanic follows protocols and procedures. The day Pepper arrived I learned to properly wash a car, remove windshield wipers and replaced a car’s battery.


As an adult, I treasure the time I spent with my dad and uncle working on cars. Now that I don’t live with my dad, I don’t get to help him with his projects, but we continue to admire cars and the laborious work and time that is invested into repairing and customizing them.

I’m still learning about cars and I enjoy constructing complex auto models. I’m currently working on a mini replica of a 2010 Nissan Skyline.


After re-watching my favorite movie, “The Fast and The Furious -Tokyo Drift,” I shifted my attention from American muscle and classic cars to Japanese imports. I love watching YouTube videos of Import cars drifting across the curvy roads, like a water rushing down a drain. Working on cars- drivable and replicas- is my passion.


My dad and uncle introduced me to cars, and I thank them for teaching me all that I know about automobile mechanics. I look forward to learning more techniques and strategies from my dad and uncle.

My 2021 Resolutions!

  1. My New Year’s resolution is to join my dad and get my hands back inside a car’s engine.

  2. Once COVID permits, my PALS job coach and I plan to study for the DMV driving test and I will obtain my driver’s license.

  3. Register into a trade school that offers certificates for automobile technicians. Maybe someday I’ll work for Honda as a tech mechanic.





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