PA-MOJA volunteers visited Joel Ndungu, a bursary student, at his home after he was brought to their attention by Patrick Waigwa, Sister School Liaison Officer and Principal Joyce Kinya Ngaruni of Sweetwaters Secondary School. They had appraised his living situation and…
September 6, 2012
PA-MOJA volunteers visited Joel Ndungu, a bursary student, at his home after he was brought to their attention by Patrick Waigwa, Sister School Liaison Officer and Principal Joyce Kinya Ngaruni of Sweetwaters Secondary School. They had appraised his living situation and found the family in desperate difficulties. PA-MOJA volunteers agreed to assist the family in the construction of a new home and offer further supports for Joel in his studies.
According to Sheridan Tochkin, Joel approached the principal because he was struggling to find a place to study. “He said that it was noisy and there was no place that he could go,” Sheridan said. “Joel had expressed frustration because he wanted to do well in school.”
Joel’s family consists of parents, Peris Mukuhi, and David Mwangu and nine children. His eight siblings include an older brother, Jacob Kingeri, and seven younger brothers and sisters. The children range in age from their late teens to a toddler.
Volunteers visited Joel’s family several times in July. On an initial visit, Joel showed everyone around the old family home. It was a small, one-room building constructed from mud and had a traditional thatched roof, which had been damaged by fire.
He explained that the family of 11 had to take turns sleeping at night because of the cramped space. In addition, the kitchen fire that smoldered at night and kept the mosquitoes at bay is “not good for the lungs,” he said. Joel was soft spoken, but clear as he explained the difficulties that the family faced and the pressures of his own upcoming exams at school.
On that day, volunteers witnessed the beginning of construction on a new family home. It was framed-out and the walls of corrugated tin were beginning to go up.
“The new home is comprised of 3 rooms,” said PA-MOJA volunteer, Silvia Knittel. “There are two bedrooms and a central living room. They’ll use the mud hut as a kitchen now.”
According to Alison Stuart, another PA-MOJA volunteer. “The whole house went up in less than a week. We asked the family if they would like a concrete floor or furniture because we didn’t have enough money to do both. They said that they wanted the furniture.”
To finish the floor, Joel’s father, Peris, spread out dirt, wet it and then patted it down to make a very solid flat floor. Next, he sealed the exterior walls to weather-proof the house.
PA-MOJA volunteers also decided to provide the family with some additional basic necessities including blankets, clothing, food, and shoes. On one visit volunteers carried in armloads of jackets and shoes for the children, which had been obtained at a local market.
On that afternoon children from surrounding homes came running to see what was going on — and it seemed that all needed coats and shoes. Fortunately, there were enough coats, and mostly enough shoes, to go around. Many of the neighboring children were Joel’s cousins, and they were delighted to also receive coats.
Volunteers noticed the jackets were a big hit, and the children were wearing them on every subsequent visit.
When the house was finished, Joel’s mother went shopping with PA-MOJA volunteers to furnish the house. According to Alison, “We thought it was important for her to have a voice in stocking her house with utensils and furniture.”
Joel’s mother struggles with her daily activities because her sight is failing. Volunteers took her to see an optician who was unable to improve her condition.
In the upcoming years Joel must complete forms three and four, the equivalent to 11th and 12th grade in North America. “It will be much easier for him now that he has a place to study,” Silvia observed.
By Dawn Kane
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