When Mr Stanley Adoli was posted as headteacher to Ogenya Primary School in Nyando sub-county, Kisumu County, in September 2020, he was excited.
After all, this is what he had always dreamt of.
At the prime age of 43, he knew that his career had just been boosted as he looked forward to embarking on a new journey at his new station.
But what he saw on the day he reported dampened his spirits and he nearly declined the offer from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
"For the first time in my life, I had to use a boat for close to two kilometres to get to my school, which was submerged by the surging Lake Victoria waters," Mr Adoli said.
Flooding and broken infrastructure forced Ogenya Primary teachers and learners to hold lessons at the nearby Kanyagwal Secondary School.
The bursting River Nyando and a historic backflow from Lake Victoria displaced residents up to four kilometres from the shores of the lake.
"I had to leave behind my wife and three children in my rural village in Vihiga County, because I could not get a decent and affordable house near my school," he said.
Mr Adoli, who lives in a one-room iron-sheet house near Riat shopping centre in Kakola Ombaka sub-location, spends Sh100 daily to get to the newly built school in Ogenya sub-location.
"On the other hand, I spend over Sh600 on weekends to travel to Vihiga County, where my family lives," said the teacher, who was transferred from Kerongo Primary in Vihiga.
He said he gets no hardship allowance and has to dig deeper into his pocket to keep his job and his family.
This is also the life of four of his colleagues who were affected by the delocalisation policy imposed by TSC.
Though it is known for perennial floods that have killed and displaced people and destroyed property over the years, Nyando in is yet to be classified as a hardship area, unlike neighbouring Muhoroni and Nyakach.
Hardship allowance has helped the two areas retain critical civil servants while most of those posted to Nyando opt to flee for various reasons.
Kanyagwal Chief Boniface Nyandeje points out that the desperate situation continues to deny locals critical services as teachers and civil servants choose to be transferred to other areas.
"There was a case in 2018 when a teacher, upon seeing her new station, disappeared never to be seen again," Mr Nyandeje told Nation.Africa.
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He said the flooding, which started in March 2019, had submerged 1,600 acres and displaced 864 families.
In Ogenya sub-location alone, Assistant Chief Barnabas Odhong' said that 350 families are still living in camps or rented houses or have integrated with families and relatives living in dry areas.
"The people who depended on their own have been reduced to beggars. They depend on well-wishers and donors for food and other items for their survival," Mr Odhong' said.
Mr Nyandeje noted that the prolonged flooding had affected some of the critical facilities, including health centres, markets, beaches and six other primary and secondary schools in the expansive region.
Other affected schools in Nyando include Nyamrundu, Oseth, Kibarwa, Odienya Korwana and both Kandaria primary and secondary.
"We had to merge some schools with the neighbouring ones after they were rendered inhabitable," he said.
The prevailing conditions have led to a sharp increase in malaria and other waterborne diseases.
Mr Nyandeje noted that crocodile, hippo and snake invasions had also been reported as wild animals roam abandoned villages.
Nyando MP Jared Okello has also raised the alarm about the area, which continues to suffer perennial flooding.
The legislator says it is unfair not to classify Nyando as a hardship area and to deny government workers a hardship allowance though the area is synonymous with flooding.
Mr Okello, who has been lobbying to get the region categorised as a hardship zone, said the move will provide incentives for workers to stay in the area.
The MP, who spoke during a recent groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Raila Odinga Secondary School at Gerliech in Nyando, appealed to the ODM leader to help get Nyando designated as a hardship area.
"We appeal to you to engage your handshake partner, President Uhuru Kenyatta, to gazette Nyando as a gift to the residents who are looking upon you and support all your interests," he said.
In August last year, Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, when he was Devolution minister, expressed the government's commitment to recognising the need for government workers in Nyando to get hardship allowances.
“Going by what residents have experienced over the years, I fully support the move,” he said.
Mr Okello noted that rain renders roads impassable and leads to a high prevalence of diseases while water scarcity and food insecurity await them in dry periods.
Mr Odinga, however, noted that the completion of the Sh25 billion Soin-Koru multipurpose dam will end perennial flooding in Nyando that has killed people and animals and destroyed property.
The former prime minister blamed the delayed implementation of the project, which was mooted in the 1960s, on vested and selfish political interests.