Of School Choices and how they shape a student….

I was a Lwak girls material, for perspective, Lwak girls was an equivalent of Alliance girls in Siaya county, back then. It was a big deal, it had a reputation and it lived upto it.

Then they called me to join Ngiya girls instead, not too bad but finances was an issue.

My dad had just retired and he was sickly

So, my brother decided that I’d join Menengai High School (this is where my Omera schooled, coincidence uh! There are many more coincidences to our story) Anywho, my Menengai uniforms were bought and admission processes concluded.

Then Papa died a day to my joining

Things moved fast, plans changed – pain everywhere.

We went home for the burials, unbeknownst to me, my mama was working behind the scenes to secure me a sponsorship, she had handed in the paperwork just before my old man passed and the outcome of that was communicated to her on my dad’s burial day.

She had secured the sponsorship, fully paid fees for form 1 to form 4 in a boarding school.

But there was a small problem, I’d have to die first to attend that school, I hated that school!

The sponsorship was part of the Catholic Church plans to revive the school, it was a dying school – literally and I was aware of the kind of non performance reputation the school had and I was not about to join and I swore I’d leave school if it came to that.

The school:- St Sylvesters Madiany Girls
The sponsor:- Archbishop Zaccheous Okoth

Mum was insistent that I had to go to that school, that the sponsorship was Godsent given the kind of financial constraints in the wake of my father’s death.

I held my ground, there’s no way I’d work so hard to get good marks in my KCPE only to go to such a ‘pathetic school’

On the reporting day, my brother tied me up and loaded me on his bike then cycled to school, ladies and gentlemen, that’s how I reported to school, tied up!

I cried a river

And swore that I’d scale the walls, drop off and get married than be in that school

For the longest time, I toyed with the marriage idea to save me from that school, the problem is that I didn’t have a suitor, no man had ever looked at me romantically.

I was 14

Context of the school when I joined:

Total population was 23 (Form 1 -4)
Teachers – 5 ( to teach all the subjects from form 1 to form 4)
Library – you could count the total number of books you’d find on the shelves
No lab
No electricity/ no generator
Dormitories – 1
Best student – ( for the last 2 years before I joined) D-

Gosh, I was so frustrated.

Then 1 day, just before we sat for our term 1 form 1 exams, I made a mental paradigm shift, I said I’d make that school my Alliance High.

I affirmed myself that I had the potential to perform even if I was not in Lwak or Alliance

I had to be my own competitor
I had to set the pace for myself coz only I was my dream bearer

And I had big dreams for myself!

I began borrowing books to read, took all my brothers books from Usenge High and made them mine

I read all the subjects that we still didn’t have a teacher on my own

I read Abbot cover to cover
I read all the top mark books, cover to cover

I buried myself in books, I wanted to prove to myself that I could still make it outside of Lwak and outside of Alliance.

Then we started getting BOG teachers
Then new teachers like Charles Gumba were hired, teachers with a hunger to help transform the school’s image, teachers with a hunger to help hungry students like myself.

We formed a group of 5 academically hungry students, students who had also been offered sponsorship like myself, against their wishes.

We took to tutoring ourselves

I handled Maths and physics
Rose-marie Rodah handled biology and chemistry etc

We disturbed the few teachers we had with questions and questions, we gave them morale to put their best foot forward

We formed a bond, a bond of 5 hungry students and 3 hungry teachers

We were on fire, I was on fire!

The first intershools exams came, this is form3 term 1- I had been topping our exams with very good grades, As – the intershools included Lwak, Maranda and Chianda, the Siaya giants back then.

I emerged number 3, overall!

I was beaten by 1 Lwak girl and 1 Maranda boy

I topped in Maths and Physics!

I was so disappointed in myself, the plan was to be the best not the 2nd runners up.

But my name was already on people’s lips
I had put our, otherwise uknown school on the maps and there was no stopping me.

We did several other inter school exams and top 3 was my default position, then school heads, the likes of Osiemo (Maranda), Opanga etc began asking ” Who is this Obor, beating their boys from unknown Madiany girls”? Then they arranged, 5 school heads, arranged to come and see me in our unknown school and they brought gifts etc

Then they asked me, what motivates you, how do you do it, I told them I compete against myself.

I know I have what it takes

I am my Father’s Daughter!

This story is long but in a nutshell, my name is in the Rolls of Honor board when you go to Sainty.

My record has never been broken, the likes of Christine Ongoro have come close but not quite

I went straight to get a Jab Admission to persue Computer Engineering at Maseno University where I would also top and get an internship sponsorship at the University of Eastern Finland under their ICT4D inter universities exchange program.

Belief in self has taken me places

I compete against myself

Shule ni wewe

Instill self belief in your kids and take them to whichever school Magoha has given them.

Signed, Obor Minto.

I am my Father’s Daughter!

Published by MWALIMU Amunga Akhanyalabandu

Passionate about Advocacy on the REAWAKENING teachers in Kenya and reporting on the MULEMBE Nation. Having worked at the Kenya National Union OF TEACHERS in the advocacy department, I will be able to detail and explain about the welfare of teachers and their point of view on socio economic and political matters. Luhyia are the 2nd most populous ethnic group in Kenya. They are blessed with great land, topography, climate, resources and human Resource. We are also keen on Luhya Renaissance is about making the Mulembe People aware of their blessings, appreciating those blessings, defending them and putting them to proper use for the current and future generations.

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