Going Home: Revisiting the Needs of Girls in Rural Kenya
This past summer I was privileged to spend two months in my rural village of Enoosaen, Kenya. The main reason for my trip, other than to visit my family after two years away, was to implement a way forward for a girls’ school I am building in Kenya. I was so glad to be home after a two-year absence but my sense of relaxation was almost immediately replaced by a sense of desperation. The needs of the community are plainly overwhelming; lack of basic needs such as water, power, proper roads, proper education facilities, health care facilities—these are the first things you notice as you near my village. As I drove home on a dusty road, I could not help but wonder how strong my people are and how spoiled I have become living in America. Why did I even complain that there was dust on my nine-month-old son who was having fun watching the open road? He didn’t complain but I was worried he might get sick. Fortunately, he is a strong little man- he was well the whole time I was in Kenya.
Anyway, during my stay I spent time with young girls who shared their desires and dreams with me. These girls desire to contribute positively to society – becoming better individuals with lives that are better than their mother and sisters. They often pointed at me, saying they wanted to become like me. This made me happy but at the same time sad because I understand the barriers they face in their current state. The drop out rate from school has increased, not only because of forced marriages but because of teenage pregnancies. This is a growing plight for girls who are already pressed by early marriages. Unfortunately, teachers cause most of these pregnancies. How sad…I feel helpless as I search for reasons why a teacher who is supposed to be a mentor to the girls would cause them so much pain. I, myself, had been in the same situation where teachers sought to have relationships with me and to, therefore, effectively destroy my life. Years ago, I found my way around these situations that young girls in my community are currently facing. How can I help them!?! I have to build the school- that is best way to save them from the culture that does not value them.