Could the people in Turkana be monkeys?

She could not have been more than 7 years old. I saw her while on a visit to a school in one of the many remote areas in this country, namely Turkana.

Her head was half plaited and I watched in a bit of wonder as she flung her body down the metal rungs into a well where she would draw water for the house.

Her mother cannot go down there because the wooden ladder leading into the water at the bottom of the last rung looks like it is highly unlikely to support a grown person.

As she filled her jerry can the girl’s feet were in the water, some of which no doubt would be used for drinking.

This particular school (Daaba Primary School) has a windmill, which no longer works. It has an electric pump that stands fenced and in silence because there is no money to buy fuel for the generator that runs it.

There are about 180 students between nursery and class six in Daaba, and you can spot quite a few elderly men and women in the school compound as well.

They are not older students; they are relatives and general members of the community hoping to get a bite or two from the free meal their children are given, courtesy of the Government’s School Feeding Programme.

One of the elder women addresses the ‘visitors’ to the school (like me) and ends her speech with the words “we are like monkeys”, to describe the helplessness they feel.

The head teacher says these children are lucky to get more than 200 marks during the national examinations, because despite the eagerness and impetus in the form of one meal a day, there are only two teachers in the school.

One of them is the head-teacher, so you can imagine who stands in for him when he has to take the long trip to Archer’s Post for an education meeting of some sort.

The school children who performed for us sang songs of hope – in English. They sang that education was like bitter toil, but its fruits were very tasty. They sang another song; praising God and I wondered what they prayed for when they spoke to their God.

I pray that the area MP would read this and use some of the CDF funds for this year to get them a water pump, a classroom, and few more teachers. The rest of us can focus on getting the students some akala sandals to step on thorns from the acacia tree – on the long trek between the school and their homes. I also pray that the old woman stops thinking of her and her people as monkeys. Amen.

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