It is with great joy and happiness that I write this to you. I am 16 years old but will be turning 17 come November 27. My parents are farmers. they work on other people’s farms in order for us to at least get something to eat.
We don’t have a house of our own but we have rented and we usually pay seven hundred per month. Sometimes when we don’t pay in good time, we are always chased out of the house and accommodated by our neighbors until we get money to pay back. That is when we are allowed to get into the house.
Before I went into a boarding school, I always helped my mother in the farm so that she could get double what she usually gets when she works alone. Sometimes, especially in August, we spend most of our time without eating because there are not enough rains and therefore there is inadequate food.
Before I got a sponsor, Michelle bought me some of the school supplies I required because my parents could not manage.
My parents managed to take me to a boarding school when I was in class five. I will always recall when that day for me to go into a boarding school finally reached. I woke up earlier than usual, prepared the breakfast and went to have a shower. (We use a small basin with river water). Within a twinkle of an eye, we had all finished dressing and taking our breakfast. My parents took the metal box filled with my supplies and we headed to the bus station. As we were traveling, questions started flowing in my mind like a wind. How will life be in boarding school? How will I live without seeing my parents and siblings? Will my parents be getting enough money to pay for my school fees? We reached school by 2:00 pm. I was admitted and my box was carried by other students into the dorm. I could not eat that day because of the happiness that I felt.
I stayed in school for two weeks and I was chased back home because I had not paid all of the school fees. I was happy because I had really missed my parents and siblings. When I reached home, I met my mother sitting outside of the house. When she saw me, she was astonished. She asked “What have you come to do and the schools are not yet closed?” I told her happily “Mum, I have been chased to collect the fees.” Before I had finished the word fees, tears started rolling down her cheeks. I felt pain in my heart and I started crying like a little toddler. What she told me made me wish that the earth would open and swallow me alive. “My daughter, I have nothing right now. You have to stay with me here at home and help me so that you can get money to go back to school.”
I was always being chased from school due to lack of fees.
I entered the house, knelt down and started crying to God to deliver us from living a life of poverty. After one week, the money was enough for me to go back to school. Life continued like that. One day I am in school and another day, I am being sent home to collect more fees. It became a monotony. Whenever the director would come to read who is being sent home for fees, I was always the first name to be read because I had always remained with a large amount of money owed. Sometimes, I would be the only person who would be sent home from the whole school! I would cry until my head would start aching. People at home know that I always go home after two or three weeks. Some even manage to ask me where I usually work because I always appear to be home.
My parents could not keep me in boarding school any longer. They decided to take me back into the small rural day school I attended before. It was 2009, in the third term, when my father and I went to clear what we could from the huge balance at school. We were told that they could not give us clearance and we had to wait for the director. When he came, he told us to go. Although Matanya’s Hope was helping some of the needy students at our school, there was not yet a sponsor for me.
This is me, Caroline Gakii, and my father during our interview with Michelle. This day changed my life.
I had no option but to take my box and leave the school. I followed behind my father. Michelle had just arrived as we were leaving. She saw us and called us to come back from the long path. Michelle and my father entered a room; I was left outside. I did not know what they were talking about but Michelle soon explained that she would pray hard to find me a sponsor. Tears of joy were rolling down my cheeks. I took my box back into the dorm and went back to class.
When I was in class 8, all of the pupils were asked to pay six thousand shillings for a trip to Mombasa. My parents could not manage to pay for me and no one notified Michelle, so all those who had not paid were chased home for the money. I was one of those who were chased.
My parents said that they could not manage to pay. My mother took me back to school the following day. Director was harsh and would not allow me to go into the classroom without paying for the trip. I was asked to take my box and leave the school. But as I was waiting for my mother to come out of the office, Michelle appeared again. I don’t know how it is that every time I am told to leave with my box, somehow she is there! Michelle saw me with the box beside me and I was crying. She came and asked me what the problem was and I told her that I was not able to pay six thousand for the trip. She went and told the director that Matanya’s Hope will pay those fees. I was allowed to go to class.
I wish you could tell me how your life was when you were in school.
Today I am in high school. Matanya’s Hope has catered for my needs and life has been smooth. I have a wonderful sponsor who has made me to feel like life really will be ok after all!
God bless all of you who help someone in need. I don’t know where I could be without Matanya’s Hope.
or send check to:
Matanya’s Hope PO Box 562 Homewood, IL 60430
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