In a week I’ll be going back to Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust in Tsavo, where I spent a week last year doing an assessment on one of the schools to determine if we should donate a library there.
I will never forget meeting this boy last year when I stepped inside the Standard 1 (grade 1) classroom. He was 13 years old and it was his first day ever at a school.
Through a translator, he told me that he didn’t want a life destined to herding goats and cattle. He said he would always see other children coming home from school, and he wanted to know what they were learning – that he knew there was a world he was missing, that he was certain he wanted to be a part of it.
Under the guardianship of his uncle and cousins, he had been forbidden from attending school, and they beat him this very morning when he tried to go. He was terrified to return home at the end of the day, but luckily the school and local authorities came to his aid, and were seeking other accommodation for him so he could continue learning.
In his hands are the very first notebook and pencil he has ever had. And on the piece of paper pictured below, are his very first words. He will be one of the first people I seek out when I return next week. I can’t wait to hear about his progress, and to see his reactions when he first steps inside the new library we will be handing over in the next six months.