I spent my mid morning and early afternoon yesterday in some form of a school at some place deep in Mukuru kwa Njenga, a slum in embakasi. You drive past Imara Daima, then you pack your car in some school compound closer to Imara Daima than where you are going. You walk through some foot paths in between the mabati maisonettes, most of the houses there have one floor up. In some places you have to jump from one stone to the next over the open sewer. Today was much better because there was no rain and therefore easy to navigate. When it rains, the sewage mixes with the rain water and you have to walk on that black semi liquid mixer.
When I asked the kids what they would like to become when they grow up, some said doctor, pilot, teacher, carpenter etc I was impressed by one of the kids who wanted to be a carpenter, I guess his dad or his uncle who buys him goodies is a carpenter because it’s rare for kids to chose to be carpenters at an early age.
I kept probing to see if any of the kids want to be an insurance agent or expert but to my disappointment none even understood when I said am an insurance sales lady. My friend, a pilot who accompanied me had more than 3 boys say they want to be pilots. You could see the waoh factor in the eyes of the boys when I told them my friend is a pilot….but am sure in their head, they must be wondering, how can a woman be a pilot?If they had a chance they would have wanted to touch her or examine if she is truly a girl.
This reminded me when we were growing up in the village it was hard to find a woman driver and if one appeared the whole village would gather to see this miracle of a woman.
If our future was to be determined by our past or by where we were raised, most of us would be nothing today. When I look at these kids and hear their dreams and aspirations then I remember my past, I believe that all dreams are valid but you have to work hard and pursue them.
The school has two classes, the first class has baby class, pre-unit and nursery, all combined and has one teacher, who is supposed to ensure they all learn. The 2nd class has class 1, 2, 3 and 4 and two teachers, so the 6 years old is in the same class with the 10 years old. By our standards we can classify these kids as disadvantaged, yet their parents work very hard to afford the school fees, 500/= per term. They know and believe that education is the only way to their kids can get out of this slum. The kids want to be pilots, so that they can fly far and high from the open sewers, from the mabati houses. They know that they deserve better and they are working towards it.
Unfortunately for them and for most kenyans, the work is more because they have to overcome more obstacles. When you are really down, its more difficult to get help even from your own relatives. This is when you see Mathew 13:12, Literally working on you ” Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” I do not consider these kids poor. They are just children who were born in that situation but their attitudes and state of mind is one that desires to grow and to change the world.Their dreams are valid and achievable but they have to knock harder and harder until the doors of opportunities open. Once the opportunities open no one will stop them, all forces conspire to make them great. Poverty is not lack of money, We have many people with a lot money but very poor. Their greedy and self centered attitudes betray them
At any given time we are in such situation where, you are completely down and at that time no one is willing to help you. It is you and your God to make it happen. That is not the time to encourage negative energy, its the time to have extreme Focus on your goals. It is the time to exercise self discipline and to avoid anything that can destruct your attention from your dream. You will have to say NO to good to pursue greatness. Every day you must work to out perform your yesterday and not to compete with others. You are not at the same point with anyone else, you cannot be in Mukuru and compete fairly with someone else in Runda. You are not in the same league run your race but remember you must run fast.