Komba Suleiman Tunu
Komba knows better than most of us how it feels to be alone. He is the child of a single mother who decided she was done with being a mum when he was in class one and barely 6 years old. She abandoned him and his aged grandmother eventually adopted him. His hardworking nature saw him ace the primary school final exam and now the former student of Uwaso Nyiro primary school one of our bursary students in Endana high school. In the next four years, Komba will have a chance to dump the cruel cards fate dealt him. He has still not decided what he want to be when he finishes school, but he knows whatever it is starts with successfully passing his high school exams. We hope the odds will henceforth be in his favor.
John Tanap Lekulal
John hails from Pois near Endana in the Northern frontiers of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. He comes from a home with 8 children and blind father. His mom is constantly overwhelmed by the needs of her other kids as a result. John is the only one that has managed to go to school.
At the tender age of 4, when children normally worry about wetting their bed or eating (read not eating) their vegetables, John’s fate seemed to have been sealed in the cattle herding business. His mother asked her oldest daughter to take care of John because she was afraid she couldn’t give him the quality of life he deserved. She took him into her home but instead of educating him, put him to work herding his brother in-law’s herd of over 50 cattle, sheep and goats. While he was thus engaged, he would come across, boys his age on the way to school and they teased him endlessly about why did not attend school like them. They told him how much fun life in school. As a result, he spent his lonely days with his sheep in the plain dreaming about how good it would be to go to school. Sometimes, the boys would pass by and teach him a few English words and other things they learnt. Finally, he could take it no more and decided to escape this life. At age 8, he ran away. He had no immediate plans other than escaping a life of drudgery and hopefully getting a chance at an education. After 3 days of aimless walking and being lost, he came to a village with people from all over the country. He was in a state, having hardly eaten the whole time. Fortunately, one man took pity on him and “adopted” him into his family. He enrolled him in a local primary school and finally John’s dream of many, many years came true.
Sadly, one year later, he was feeling lonely again for being so far away from his family. He said goodbye to his new family and went looking for his parents and siblings. His parents were even worse off than they had been before and in as much as he valued his education, he could not bring himself to abandon them and go back to his benefactors. He registered in a school 10 Kilometers from home. He would leave the house at 4.00Am so he could get there at 7.00AM. Since it is usually dark when he left home, he would carry a box filled with rocks in addition to his books to scare and sometimes fight off wild animals. Despite the struggle, he kept at it and finally in class 8, he scored better than any of his peers in the school. When he told his story to the community members who were helping Ol Pejeta and PA-MOJA pick out the deserving students, they were impressed with him and decided to give him a scholarship. Today, John is in Nanyuki High school on of the best schools in the county. His fees are fully paid for by the PA-MOJA/Ol Pejeta bursary. His life is radically changed, and if his hard work and determination in retrospect are anything to go by, he is going places.
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