Totally Mashombo

My name is Totally Mashombo. I’m the oldest of a family of six children. I grew up in a very humble circumstances in a village called Utange in Kenya, which is some kilometres away from Mombasa city on the coastal region of Kenya. I’m currently residing in Nairobi where I’m a fourth-year student at the University of Nairobi, studying for a Bachelor of Commerce degree and majoring in Operations Management. 

Getting to where I am today has been a great journey: one which I have, for the most part, enjoyed.  My time at the Educate the Kids School was central to this journey: I loved it and have to say my education is one of the best gifts I have ever received in my entire life.

As I grew up, life was never easy in Utange because of the extreme poverty in the village. My family’s circumstances were not good and as a young child I often used to feel there was no hope. It was a struggle even getting the basics. Can you imagine a day without a meal? It happened to me so many timesas I was growing up. Life in Kenya is hard but for a child in our village it is so much harder. In my childhood, I lived in a mud house with no electricity or running water. I had to walk a distance to fetch water for our family and we had a small paraffin lamp for light.  However, my parents sometimes couldn’t afford to buy paraffin, and on such days my family and I would be forced to sleep without light in our small mud house.  With an empty stomach and no light, life was tough.

Despite the desperate conditions we lived in, I had a desire for education but could only imagine the difference it might make to my life. Education is seen by all poor Kenyans as an escape route from poverty, but sadly my parents could not afford to send me to school.  I was very stressed, seeing other kids going to school and leaving me behind, loitering around the village.  It was hard and I don’t mind admitting that I cried with frustration at the seeming hopelessness of my situation.  With no future ahead of me and only tough circumstances looming ahead, I thought life was so unfair. Why couldn’t I get what others had? These were painful moments, but as I was to discover, miracles do still happen.

One day, as I was walking aimlessly around my village, I met granny Maureen on one of her many visits to Jolaurabi school. Of course, I knew about the school back then but I never thought I’d have an opportunity to get into it. Maureen is a tender-hearted woman and I’m sure she quickly noticed how stressed I was. “Do you go to any school?” she asked.  I said that I couldn’t go to school because my parents could not afford it.  She paused and seemed to be thinking about what I’d said, before telling me that I should visit the school the next day at around 9am.  Honestly, I did not sleep that night!  I was desperate to see her again and find out how things would unfold the following morning. My heart leapt and I spent all night hoping that things would work out and that I might get a chance in Jolaurabi school.

Totally Mashombo(to be continued).