Friday, January 16, 2009

What some kids do to go to school.

Once in a while I come across such heart wrenching stories of school children and I promise myself to start a school fees fund for African Children like Malinga. I hope to get my ish together soon and start one.

When his parents died, all they left him was a donkey. One would, therefore, expect 10-year-old Moses Malinga to sit at home with his grandmother.

But not Malinga. He fetches water for households, restaurants and hotels to make ends meet. He loads the jerrycans on the donkey’s back.

Malinga is in P3 at Chekwasta Primary School in Bukwo district.

“My dream is to stay in school and become a teacher. I cannot achieve that if I do not do anything on my own,” he says. “My relatives are too poor to help me; they are also busy looking after their families.

I had to discover a way out. I never wanted to become a beggar; I do not like free things. I know I will succeed if I work hard.”

Every day at 5:00am, Malinga wakes up to fetch water from River Bukwo, 10 km from his home. He carries two to four jerrycans of water per trip. “I have to make 30 trips daily to make enough money,” he says. “But during school time, I make about 10. I do not want to miss classes.”

On a good day, he can make sh800 per trip.

“I load water on the donkey and direct her to where the water is needed. To reward my donkey, I give her at least two hours of rest per day,” he says. “She is always cheerful and this makes me happy.”

Malinga’s customers always pay promptly. “I have never been cheated. It seems they understand my situation,” he says.

He uses the money to buy uniforms, scholastic materials and household items like sugar and salt.

Malinga, who lives three kilometres away from his school, says although he gets exhausted sometimes, his work has not affected his concentration in class. During the end of year exams, he was 9th out of 90 pupils in his class.

“On school days, I wake up at about 5:00am to do five trips. By 8:00am I am in school and by 4:00pm, I am back to do another five,” he says.

His teachers are proud of him, but believe he can perform even better. Alex Mwanga, his class teacher says: “If a Good Samaritan could help him financially, he would top the class.”

Benna Chemusto, Malinga’s grandmother says she always prays for her grandson to succeed so that he can provide for the rest of the family.
Peter Chekwchi, a restaurant owner and one of Malinga’s customers is proud of him. “He is young but with a clear vision. He has big dreams,” he says.

“With his determination, he will succeed.”