Harambee Girls

I walked to the small downtown yesterday, Saturday morning, and felt at ease, interested. Pleasant.  Kakamega is an enjoyable resting place and the job is one I want to do.

For three days last week we interviewed girls, some as young as 13, who, having just obtained their marks for their final year of primary school, are coming to the Harambee Centre to try for one of 60 positions for the final 4 years of  secondary school.  There’s a line up at the gate: mothers, fathers, guardians, brothers, aunts, friends, well wishers and the Daughters.  Interviews will continue next week…
[Primary school runs from Grade One through Grade Eight.  Primary Grades are called Standards here.  In secondary school Grades are called Forms.]

They are Champions, I have no doubt.
They are fighting an upstream battle against all the odds, just to go to high school, let alone on to college and a job.  Many we interview have good marks, it’s money they need.  School is not free.  Some girls’ parents are dead (likely aids) and some sell a few vegetables by the roadside.

“What do your parents / guardian do?”
“Selling ropes.”  (cows)

This past week I also met the two students I sponsored these past 4 years.  Their spoken English is ‘normal’ unlike their written which is indeed ‘flowery’.   Not just theirs, most people I’ve met here write in this vein; must be encouraged in school?

My graduating students are about 18 years old.  There are elections coming soon, apparently, and for some reason this will delay the publishing of the final marks and standing until March or April.  I was hoping to see these by mid February.  In the meantime Ann is taking computer classes in her home village and all are waiting to see if their marks might qualify them for government grants.   If the girls needed sponsors for high school they are likely going to need further help to get to university; just how to get there is uppermost.   I am contemplating further assistance and know I’m likely to be asked.

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