To most, school is just but an annoying nuisance in the morning, where one is forced to leave the comfort of the bed to the chilly weather awaiting outside. If you are student in a private institution then you are lucky as you can warm up in the school bus, but if you are from a public institution, then you have to walk or run to school depending on how many times you snoozed your alarm or if you received a spanking for your stubbornness to wake up in the morning.
For Clinton however, school is a need, a rehabilitation center, a safe haven which sometimes he doesn’t even know he needs. I met Clinton severally at Kapsoya shopping center and many times you would be met with a hoarse voice of a young, unkempt adolescent boy saying “nisaidie tano” translation for “Can I kindly have five shillings” sometimes when I would see him approach, I would find a way of evading him either because I didn’t have five shillings or because he was becoming a nuisance. I mean, this boy is very able bodied as sometimes you would see him engaged in fights with other street children at the center. He should get himself a job or just go home or…wait, why not education?
We are living in very fortunate times where free primary education is offered in public institutions. Why is Clinton not in school? In order to have him reveal why he spent all his time at the shopping center begging for money and indulging in activities that adds no value to his life, I had to of course give him five shillings. However, this time, the five shillings was in the form of taking him to a decent restaurant for lunch, and he ordered a plate of fries, a delicacy of many children.
Clinton enjoying his plate of fries and Sausage
For the first time in my interactions with Clinton, I saw the boy in him. Like any other child, he loved French fries commonly referred to as “chipo”. He revealed to me about his family. He lived with his mother who had no means of buying him school uniform and school shoes despite free primary education. I asked him if he wanted to go to school and he responded by saying that he has always wanted to go to school
Clinton, his mother and siblings
I knew Clinton had to go to school. He needed school to rehabilitate his behaviors and to learn and to eventually make a man of himself. “I want to be a doctor”, he says.
Friends making wristbands to sell and raise money for Clinton’s school uniform and shoes
The wristbands that were sold
Together with my friends, we began an initiative of making and selling wristbands at 200 shillings and the proceeds would all go to buy him school uniforms and school shoes. We required Clinton to avoid hanging around the shopping center and to stay home and help his mother with the house chores.
Clinton during his first professional photo in his new school uniform
In no time, Clinton had his school uniform and school shoes and was on his way to school, Munyaka Primary School. He was scarce at the shopping center. However, three weeks ago, I met him, back to his “nisaidie five” venture. It breaks my heart that he was making such progress in school and with the strike of teachers, he is back to the streets.
Clinton trying out his school shoes at a Bata Retail Store
Clinton needs teachers, he needs to play in the school playground, and he needs discipline. He needs school. He needs to be a child again. We should not allow the streets to rob him of his childhood again.
This is just a case study of Clinton, many children’s lives depends on teachers availability in school.
If you are a teacher, I hope this touches your heart.
If you are a student, let keep hoping and praying
To our government, we hope you can reach to an amicable solution with the teachers
To the society, help a child somewhere that is not in school, get to school
Point of information: Story as told by Peter Kiplimo, the noble man that helped start the initiative for Clinton to go back to school