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Updated: 3 days ago

I had forgotten how hard it is to talk to teenagers. They are closed tombs. One after another I interviewed them, but more and more it felt like squeezing juice from a berry.

It was only after the first three encounters that I realized I was doing this all wrong.

There I was, seated on the Principal’s chair, asking questions, taking notes, my recorder flash on the table. Wondering why they were not talking freely.

So I changed tact. I stopped asking straight questions, put the recorder to the left and decided to just have a casual conversation with the next student.

Her name was *Violet. She had a wide frame and a steady gait. Her hair was tied back and pimples were gathered in peer groups on her face. I skimmed through introductions and started to empty words into the room in the name of small talk when she suddenly said, “I don’t like this school.” She had soft lips. A quiet voice.


“I was born around here, grew up here, went to primary school around here. I didn’t want to come to this school.”

“Where did you want to go?”

She smiled sadly, “Moi Girls High School.”

“Which one?”


“Wow, isn’t that far?”

“It is. I want to see the world.”

“Apart from this place, where else have you been?”

“Nowhere!” This time her voice was like a fist.



I kept my face neutral as we spoke. I wanted to hear more so looking shocked was not going to help my case.

She told me she is the 7th born in a family of 9 children. Her parents don’t work and they all depend on her older brothers to sustain them.

“How about your sisters?”

She grunted. “They didn’t go to school.”


“Dad plans to marry them off.”

“How about you? How did you get the chance to be here?”

“I refused.”

And her dad had been livid. She told him she was not going to stay home and perform house chores like her sisters.

“I want to be someone in life,” she had told him. “What?”

“A doctor.” She replied matter of factly.

She wore him down with her insistence until he agreed and let her be. She told me she didn’t want to go through what her friends had gone through. Most of them were married off at ten or eleven years. Pre-teens with nothing but kids and poverty.

“Their fathers just give them away to old men. And they go off to work and bear children.” “At ten years?” My throat felt barren. I had no words.

“Yes. Sometimes they run away and are taken back and they get beaten.”

My heart sank.

No wonder she was determined to stay in school. She said that during the holidays she would carry her books to try and teach her friends in the community. Give them some hope.

“I don’t know what will happen once the form 4’s finish school. We will be so few.” She looked around the room as if it was bugged then she continued, “You know at night when it gets to 9pm, the boys switch off the lights. Then they touch us. So we have to run out before the lights go out or else..” She let the sentence die its own death.

“Have you tried to escalate this issue to the teachers?” My mouth ripped open.

“Yes we do. But how do you identify who did what? Sometimes they get punished then after a while, it happens again. The thing to do is not let the lights go out with you in class.”

Staying in that school for her is hard but leaving would be worse. We sat in silence for a while. It was Violet who disturbed it.

“But my dad knows I am headstrong. That’s not the first time I have stood up to him.”



One Sunday she saw people walking to church and she had never been. She walked to her dad and told him, “Dad, I want to go to church.”

“To look for what there?”

“Just to see.”

“There is no need. The Church has no meaning.”

“Well I am going.”

And she went. When she came back she told him, “Next Sunday, we should go together.”

Because that’s the kind of girl Violet is. She has a hunger for discovery. She yearns to learn and before she stood to leave she told me, “I only want one thing, “To become somebody. That will not happen as long as I am stuck here. That’s why I want to see the world. After form 4, my first trip will be to Nairobi.”

I hope she makes it.

Read the next story in the series here:


Guys these stories will be short. Not my usual 2000 word articles.

The aim is to enlighten people on the plight of these girls. As of now, the form 4s cannot be transferred. They sit their final exam in March 2022.

But there are five form 2s who cannot be left in the school. Their parents can barely afford fees. These girls are however desperate to stay in school.

There is a nearby girls school that they can move to.

It will cost 50k for one girl to go through school for a year.

My desire is to raise funds for their two remaining years. So 100k times 5.

I am collecting funds on an m changa account. Click on the link to contribute to this cause:

Help me, help a girl in need

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Winnie Shie
Winnie Shie
Sep 30, 2021



dela crucifix
dela crucifix
Sep 24, 2021

With her determination, I pray that God will open doors for


Agnes Akinyi
Agnes Akinyi
Sep 24, 2021

She's special. She'll definitely get where she wants to be. Wishing her the best of luck.

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