#9 More Students on Scholarship—Their Stories
Jecinta Ndinda: I wrote about Jecinta last year and enough people wrote to say they wanted to help her that she is now set for her 4 years at SFG. I talked to her and took her photo today. She loves SFG and is doing well. She mentioned she loved the fact that there is no discrimination. I wasn’t sure whether she was talking about financial status, tribe, class standing or darkness of skin—all factors that can determine ones status in this society. I thought it was a strong statement about the culture here. Here’s her story. Her mother has failing kidneys and cannot work. Neighbors have provided food and even paid Jecinta’s school fees for “free” elementary school, but could not manage the much higher secondary fees. She was sent to live with her aunt, who is disabled and tries to support herself and her daughter (now in high school), but she, too, could not afford secondary fees for Jecinta as well. Eventually her aunt took her to Cardinal Maurice Otunga Training School (CMOTS), where girls learn cooking, sewing, computer skills and knitting. CMOTS is run by my good friends Sr Judy and Sr Christine. They noted that Jecinta had completed elementary school and had passed the national exam with 304/500. Our cutoff for SFG is a “soft” 300. When I visited the sisters are CMOTS last summer they told me how bright Jecinta is and how much she wanted to continue her formal education. She’s a very happy, hard working student, very sweet. She sends her gratitude to all those who saw her story and chose to help.
Ann Muthoni is a very shy form 1 student, uncomfortable telling me her story, yet wanting to do it. She is the oldest of 12 children!!! Her parents are what is known as “casual workers”, finding odd jobs on farms. The family lives in a small home about 3 km from SFG. She walks that distance at break time because she doesn’t have the ksh 20 (~$.23) to ride on a matatu. This is what Ann told me. Jecinta (p) has filled out the story. The parents are incapable of doing anything except produce children. Mother is currently expecting #13. The grandmother feeds the family by going door-to-door begging for food. Jecinta (sw) somehow found out about this family. She told me it was the worst case of poverty she had ever encountered..
Ann who has been doing the cooking for the whole family, living in a 1-room house with 14 people, all of whom sleep on the dirt floor. Despite these most desperate, deprived circumstances, she earned 304 on the KCPE. Jecinta (sw) urged the family to bring Ann to SFG and to apply for a scholarship. Her life has been so limited that she has a hard time understanding the most basic things, like sleeping in a bed, taking a shower, getting to class on time. She had never seen a door handle so didn’t know how to open the classroom door! Yet she earned B her first term here. Jecinta (p) says her handwriting is beautiful, she takes perfect notes in class, her math exercise book is very well organized and she is always attentive in class. She is adjusting well to being at SFG, now sleeps in the bed, showers and gets to class on time.
As I listened to Jecinta (p) tell me about Ann I thought she must be extraordinarily bright to have come from that background, yet do so well academically. She wants to be a doctor. It will be fun to watch her flower.
Elizabeth Nyarach is from a small village in southern Sudan. When the violence hit that region her father and 2 older brothers were killed. Along with her mother and 4 sisters, she fled to the Kakuma refugee camp in western Kenya, where she completed elementary school, earning 267 on the national exam. She was brought to our attention by Gabriel Nyok in the US, also a Sudanese refugee. He is entering San Jose State, having completed his AA in community college, as well as working at Home Depot. Through Gabriel, a sponsor was found for Elizabeth, but she could not get here until May (school began in January). She’s working very hard to catch up. Jecinta (p) says she even forgets to go out at tea time or lunch time, just stays in the classroom and works. She was very comfortable talking to me, has excellent English good social skills (like eye contact). She is 19 and hopes to become a doctor. Her family has now been repatriated to Sudan.
How are you Judy? I hope you are fine. I am just doing well here in school and I hope that you are also doing fine. I am missing you very much and I hope that you are missing me too.
The reason of writing this letter is to inform you about my life history. My mom had died in the year 2008 when I was in class seven. After the death of my mother, my father left us for unknown place. And we were left without parents.
I have two older brothers and two younger sisters. The one who is following me: she did her last primary exam last year 2010, but because there was no one to proceed her with secondary education, she left home and went to look for an employment as a househelper. The lastborn is now in class eight.
However, life without parents was very difficult to survive in. This is because of many obstacles we went through such as to attend the school without breakfast and even without lunch. In the year 2009 April when I was in class eight and I had already register for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) I could not tolerate this anymore. I decided to left my home and I went to look for an employment as a househelper. I was taken by one woman who took me to her daughter’s place in Naivasha. There, there was a good Samaritan who asked me why I was not in school. I told her my whole story and she promised me that she would try to look for a place where I could continue with my study. And this is the one who brought me in children’s home “Mji Wa Neema.”
I take this opportunity to thank you Judy very much because I can remember that when I was brought there, “Mji Wa Neema” you were the one who welcomed me, took me to the town and buy for me all that I required as a student such as school Bata shoes, bag and extra. My prayers are always in you. May almighty God bless and give long last life as you continue serving Him through helping the needy like me and many others. May God bless your family and welcome you in His eternal kingdom after life on this earth.
I would like to request you that I am doing well here in school so that I can achieve my education goal so that even me I will be helping the needy. If you want to know more you just inform me. I wish you a wonderful blessed life.