In five days, Fred Ekiru Amario had travelled more than 700km to join Kapsabet High School, taken a viral photo with his parents and received a government scholarship.
For a boy who needed the help of well-wishers to travel from Lokwii village in Turkana County to join Form One, the biggest barrier that could have derailed his ambition of becoming an engineer is now out of the way.
In an interview with the Nation at his new school, Ekiru said it was through a well-wisher’s Facebook post that six people volunteered to support his education. They were led by Ms Nelpa Murray, who lives in Mombasa and who had been moved by his story.
Ms Murray told the Nation that they had paid his fees up to the second term of Form Two.
However, Ekiru may not need more assistance after Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha announced that he would be a beneficiary of the Elimu Kenya Scholarship Fund.
“It is our commitment that children from disadvantaged backgrounds pursue their education and Ekiru, who is the face of Kenya, is among them,” said Prof Magoha at the school when he monitored the ongoing admission of Form Ones.
His target was 420
Ekiru’s dream school was Kapsabet High. He sat his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination at Lokwii Primary School and scored 403 marks out of the possible 500.
His target was 420.
Last Wednesday, Ekiru and his parents showed up for admission. His father Amurio Lokitoe is a village elder in Lokwii, Lokori, Turkana County. His mother Lokol Lochakwan, who left her place of birth for the first time, was also part of the travelling party. The parents wanted to ensure they knew the school their son would attend in the next four years. They also had an interpreter with them.
They travelled 744km on the road to the school. Ekiru said it was a two-day journey. It took them a day from Lokori to Eldoret before travelling the next day to Nandi County, where Kapsabet Boys is located. They arrived at 8am.
By 1pm, they had completed the admission process. They then posed for photos in front of the school’s administration block.
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For his parents, this was to preserve memories of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of escorting their son to a prestigious national school. But the photos would later spread, with the parents’ true-to-the-roots manner of dressing drawing attention.
His parents dressed up in traditional attire, their feet clad in akala (shoes made from old tyres).
Eat once a day
That was their best outfit for the occasion, except it wasn’t common in this part of the world. But that was not the only shocker for this family from northern Kenya. They refused to be served lunch as other parents ate their portions. Back home, Ekiru said, they only eat once a day and any excess food is stashed for the next day. They had already had their meal for the day.
Back home, they only speak Turkana. In Kapsabet, most people were using the national languages – Kiswahili and English.
In Turkana, the culture dictates that women be submissive to men. That entails not taking seats when men are standing. While in Kapsabet, she sat on slabs the whole time. These actions made Ekiru’s parents stand out.
Kapsabet High School Chief Principal Kipchumba Maiyo said Ekiru’s village may be the remotest place a student has ever come from in his six years as the headteacher. He added that he had never seen parents come for admission with an interpreter.
Ekiru was among 416 new Form Ones who reported to Kapsabet Boys. The principal said the school had also admitted another student from Turkana with 350 marks four years ago. He added that the student scored an A of 83 points in the 2021 KCSE results, noting that students from hardship areas work extra hard because of their backgrounds.