My experience in a village Day-Secondary School

My experience in a village Day-Secondary School

At times I look back on where I came from and just marvel at the journey. My High school life constitutes some of my most challenging experiences yet the most rewarding one.  I was never privileged to be in a boarding school or a prestigious one. After primary school, I joined a small day secondary school some kilometers away from my village. I never complained because I knew it was either that school or no school at all despite having performed very well in the previous year’s national exams (KCPE). That is always the gift of poverty, you are presented with limited choices. You’ve got to grab the one you get with both arms.

Back in the day, life in a village day secondary school was never easy. A normal day for me would start at 3 o’clock in the morning, waking up to prepare to go to school. I would prepare breakfast for myself and my other siblings. The school was three ridges, a river and a forest from home and so I had no choice but to get up that early.

I would put on my only pair of school uniforms which I struggled to keep clean. At times I would be rained on as I came back from school and I would wash then hung the uniform on the pillar next to the fireplace so smoke odour on me was part of life. I would walk alone in the dark to school and as a young girl, I got frightened every time I heard a sound from the forest or roaring of the river.

As a coping mechanism, I faked a conversation by speaking in different voices just to scare away the unseen that I believed larked in the dark. You would mistake me for a lunatic. At times it would rain heavily in the morning and I would protectively clutch my books to shield them from the rain. In between was my chemistry book whose subject teacher was strict on neatness and assignment would never miss out on a daily basis. It was only wise to protect it more just to evade the most feared strokes of the cane.

At times the river flooded and the wooden bridge would be swept away. I had to remove my only pair of shoes which were torn already, fold my skirt high to my waist then wade into the dangerous river all for the thirst of education.

I would be happy that I had arrived at school and enjoy the learning but that too wouldn’t last long. The deputy principal would come with the dreaded ‘’black book’’ a nickname for the list of those who had enormous fee arrears. Anyone with my experience understands this experience; it meant one thing-disruption of learning. After the entire struggle to come to school so early, I had to go back home for the school fees which at the back of my mind I knew was not available. I would leave feeling heartbroken and discouraged. It was never my parents’ fault because I knew they did their best and had sacrificed so much for me already.

Nobody was allowed to leave the school with their books in an effort to relay the urgency of the situation but it didn’t matter anyway, my parents had no money to pay the school fee. This meant that I didn’t have my books to carry on learning at home as I waited for my parents to get some amount to slash the arrears.

I would stay home for weeks doing odd jobs to save up for fees as my parents also did their part to save. During weekends I would read notes from a neighbor and in return do her assignments. I only went back when my parents had at least some amount to convince the school to let me back into the classroom. End of the term examinations would be done just a couple of weeks after I went back to school. My Classmates would watch me with pity written all over their faces but I confidently answered the question papers. When results came out I would always be top of my class, ALWAYS.

This routine went on for four years; I sat my KCSE examination and passed with flying colors to earn a direct entry to the university to study the course of my dream. Despite all the challenges of studying in a day school with limited resources, I never gave up and believed in the beauty of my dreams and so can any other student.

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