On my visit to Kenya, I was fortunate to tour the community and meet one of the teachers at the Primary School on Maasai Mara Reserve. The teacher, who also lived in the community, explained the daily duties that of the students in order to make sure the school stayed tidy. I learned that not all of the students on the reserve can attend primary school with their siblings, because there are simply not enough resources to teach, cloth and feed most of whom already attend school. So students who are selected are must share their teachings to their siblings once they get home after a long day in class. I listened to the daily tales of students in the 3rd grade, where I learned that each one as young as 8 years old must arrived to school thirty minutes early to help clean the school grounds before they could eat breakfast and start class. The typical instruction day last seven hours with one short break after lunch, followed by students cleaning the school grounds before the break period was up. The facility had very little electricity, running water and resources. The school recently received a generous gift of three computers, but since there are no staff trained to use them, most of the time they remained unused.
Their textbooks were in such poor condition, all the seating was falling apart and there were barely any writing utensils available for the students to use, I was heartbroken. As a young child growing up poor in Chicago, I know how it feels to not have much and feel helpless, I could only pray and hope that things would get better for my family. But after my visit to Africa, I now look back on my situation and realize that it was not at all as worst as I thought it was. I was so touched by my experience that I know it was my time to help someone to reach their goals and make their dreams come true.
After researching different agencies and speaking with friends, I learned of an agency that offered opportunities to sponsor students in the small village. A good friend referred me to a trusted organization named, URAFIKI, an organization that supports students in secondary school in Yala, Kenya. I was fortunate to have coffee with one of the organizers here and Dubai, just to get some reassurance that my child will receive every dollar I donated. I received information from our meet that I felt secure enough support a beautiful, young and outstanding student name, Evelyn Vutage.
Evelyn has just been enrolled in the Ikobero Secondary School, where she just received word that she would be getting support to help with her education. I’m told she was very excited and has already took photos to send to me along with a portfolio of some of her best classwork and letters.
Evelyn lives with both parents along and has one sister and three brothers. Her parents are peasant farmers and do not earn more than a subsistence living. She has done well on her primary exams, but seemed afraid to come forward to ask for sponsorship because her brother was already being supported and she didn’t think that they would allow one family to have two children receive help. Her brother Ben is great! He was very sick, almost died earlier in the year with TB and pneumonia. Thanks to a fellow supporter, he recovered. He wrote lovely letters of thanks and I’m sure his sister will do just the same. I learned that Evelyn had begun to give up on school and began to resigned herself to a life of poverty. When teachers had notice that she didn’t attend school in the first weeks, a fellow supporter reached out to the family and she was quickly rushed back into school. Most secondary schools in Africa are boarding schools, which is great for Evelyn, because her school is a long walk from home and that carries the high risk of being attacked. She wanted me to know that she was so happy that I have come to her rescue and, ASANTE SANA!!!
Off on a new journey……. to be continued :)!