Happy New Year!

January 7, 2019

The year has started well, and we are thankful to God. Schools have opened today for the first term of the year. The whole town has been a bee-hive of activity as parents and their children are busy shopping for back to school supplies. The beginning of the year is always hectic for parents. The students who sat for the end of primary examinations in November are now ready for Secondary School; there are books, uniform, beddings and other school supplies that need to be bought.

This exercise is usually very costly. The parents walk from one shop to the other looking for cheap bargains. Though the shop owners are doing a booming business, the parents experience high stress and anxiety trying to make sure they have all the supplies their children need. Those from the far away villages come to the city, some for the first time in their lives, with their school children. These all look lost, and naturally go around requesting the shops owners to direct them as to what school supplies are needed for purchase.

The students are eager and excited to join schools in the city that is, before the culture shock hits them. Those that academically performed with excellence were called to very prestigious schools. They came from a village school to a ‘town’ school which has amenities they could only dream of before. The parents, as well as the students, are in total shock!

Their children are now joining a school that has a swimming pool, and so they will get swimming lessons! The closest they have ever come to water was when they fetched water in the river in the village out of necessity for daily life.  Even the thought of wearing a costume (bathing suit) scares them, there is too much exposure! But- they join the school, endure the culture shock, use a flush toilet for the first time, and sleep in a bed of their own (without sharing with 5 siblings). Life is suddenly transformed, and slowly they acclimate into the system.

One of the girls who attended our seminar in Meru was called to join the prestigious Kenya High School. Coming from a village school, the above scenario played out for her. She stood out during the seminar because she would answer questions with a lot of confidence; she was shy but very knowledgeable. When we got the news that she was joining the school, we made a point of meeting her when she arrived in Nairobi. We congratulated her and offered to mentor her as she joins Secondary School. Her parents, who live in the village, were happy to see us and to know their daughter has someone to talk to when need be. She is a success story, having scored 412 marks out of a possible 500. She made her school very proud and encourages the other girls to also work hard at school.

Our Choice Club meetings start this week.  The girls in Pokot are all well; they resume teaching practice today. Cecilia called today to say hello.

We are looking forward to a very fruitful year as part of the Valvisions Foundation family.

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