THE TRUTH INFECTION
I always cried to get an education. Here is my story:
I am the last born in a family of three children, one boy two girls. We were born in Kawangware slums in Nairobi (where we stay up to now) to a carpenter father and my mother had a groceries kiosk.
At four years I could read my siblings storybooks and sing their school songs. I felt it was time I joined school and I told my parents. I would even put on my sister’s school uniform. My parents were reluctant especially my mother perharps she wanted me to keep her company at home been her ‘baby’ but I was adamant on my decision to go to school. I cried everyday because I did not want to be a ‘chokora’ (street child) because they never went to school.
Finally in May 1995 I joined nursery school. I was overjoyed. I worked very hard and was always at the top in my class. Come the next year I was ready to join primary school after only two terms in nursery school.
I joined Kawangware primary school, the headteacher thought I was too small but when I was given a test I proved that I had big brains and I was admitted.
Life in primary school was fair school fees was affordable because one payment catered for the three of us. I was lucky I used my siblings’ text books, we could afford a meal everyday and my mother would knit the uniform for us.
After primary school, although I performed fairly to join a government school, we could not afford and I was taken to a local privately owned school. I worked hard determined to make my life better. However, in second term the school management fell out and by third term the school was closed.
Over the December holidays I worked as a nanny and used my pay to look for another school but we could not afford. I enrolled in another local private school.
I was sent home often because of school fees, one time I stayed home too long until the director thought I was sick and sent for me.
I joined Daystar University in 2009. My first year’s school fee was paid through a loan after which I had to stay home for a semester. I volunteered at Nairobi Baptist Church children’s department…I was trained as a Sunday school teacher and my love for children grew.
I resumed school in May semester 2010 and since then I never missed a semester until I finished my studies last year December. I was always on the Defaulters list for not paying fees on time which came from individual well wishers and organizations. More often I got my exam card two days to exam or even on the exam day. .. I will graduate in June 29th 2013 with a B.A Communication.
The challenges girls in my community face include:
Obsession with beauty, as long as you dress well and look pretty that’s all. I attribute this to lack of mentors and self confidence. They don’t know that beauty without brains is like a car without fuel. It may look good but cannot move an inch.
Poverty leading to lack of school fees.
Disintegrated families, making the children to keep moving to their relatives. Then when parents fight they revenge on their children the mother says “tell your father to prepare you for school” and the father says “tell your mother to pay your fees”
These barriers deny the children an education both boys and girls. The girls get married so early and become depend on their husbands who use them as they please. Most of them end in separation and the cycle is repeated.
I made it through these challenges and I have confidence in these girls. I have a working relationship with the younger ones…I make them love school, ask them how school was and we do the homework together. Sometimes I support them with stationary and school uniform.
Also, my heart goes out to the street children they are so young and in the streets rather than be in school. During my first year in college, I did a research paper on street children in Nairobi…with my first degree I am better placed to negotiate with relevant authorities for these children to be in school.
I also want to see the teenage girls resume school. A few are my friends and are in school and I think they can help me reach to their peers to be in school.