A Letter From A Student from the Kishermoruak-Obama Primary School in Kenya
Below is a letter from a student named Elizabeth Turere written to Paramus Rotarian Lois Horowitz. Lois sponsored the scholarship that allowed Elizabeth to attend school. The Rotary Club of The Palisades sponsors the hot lunches at the Kishermoruak-Obama Primary School. More information about this project can be found here.
My name is Elizabeth Koinanti Turere, I am 15 years old and a resident of Nkineji sub location, Siana Location, Narok County
I am from Turere family. My father has three wives and my mother is the second wife with 7 children, I am the fifth born in my family. The first wife of my father has 8 children and the third wife has 10 children. In total we are 25 children of my father. I had a wonderful life growing up, playing my brothers and sister, fetching water from the river, washing clothes, getting firewood and learning how to build a maasai Manyaata.
I was in grade 6 and 13 years old when I heard about the Maywood Rotary Kenya project scholarship and then I made a decision to work hard to be awarded this scholarship, by then it was the only scholarship being awarded to the 3 top students here.
At the age of 13, I was supposed to go through the rite of passage as per our traditional and married off to an old man who has a lot of cows. My sister was married at the age of 12, she was in grade 5. I went through the rite of passage, I didn’t want to but I had no choice. After a week or so I learned about the plans my father had from his third wife who is also like my mother, I was going to be married off. I had to come up with a plan to run away from home. I woke up the next morning and told my mother that I wanted to make bracelet for my husband to be and requested for permission to visit the market and buy the beads. My mother who was very happy about the plans my father had made gave me permission, this is when I made a decision to run away from home and never return.
At the town centre, I shared my story with Pastor Kidienye’s wife mama Linda as she is commonly known, she called the Pastor and a few people gathered. I told them about the plans my father had for me and told them about my desire to complete school and go to high school. The Pastors wife decided to host me for the night. The next day my father and his friends and everyone from my village arrived at Mama Lindas home, with them was my husband to be. Mama Linda had a phone which she used to call Mercy the Maywood Rotary representative. She talked to her and she requested to speak to my father. He was too angry so he refused to take the phone. My mother took the phone and told her about the plans my father had for me. Mercy has a rescue program for girls here and any girl that call or is referred to her, she always find a way help them. She negotiated with my mother and said he had money she could send to my father so that he can agree to let me go, requested for a week.
After a week, I was still at Mama Linda house, Mercy arrived with her husband. We walked for 7 kms to our village, found my father and negotiation started, it was horrible being there, being the discussion and only aged 13 years old. At the end Mercy won but my father said I was not his daughter anymore. I cried, I respected my father so much and I was hoping he will understand. I gathered my few belonging and left.
At the town centre people gathered again, the school committee, mothers and the area chief. A letter was written to my father telling him that he risk being jailed if he continues with his plans to marry me off. I was so relieved when the Area Chief said he was going to protect me. I was told to continue staying at Mama Linda till the school reopens.
In January of the following year, I joining the boarding section, there were other girls from different villages who had gone through the same have been rescued to put in school. I was so happy to be in the boarding school, I never lacked anything, I had food, I had clean water, I could sleep in a bed, I had clean mattress and new uniform to put on.
This year I sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, I scored 333 marks out of 500 marks. I was the top girl in three schools names Kishermoruak Obama School, Mpopong Primary school and Nkineji Primary school. I was so happy to learn that I was going to be accorded a scholarship by FLSMR Lois. D. Horowitz of District 7490 Rotary and that the scholarship covers high school and University level. I can’t explain how I feel right now; my dream of going to a high school has been realized. I have received an admission letter to Join Ole Tipis Girls High school in Narok on the 9th January 2018.
I am so grateful to everyone who has contributed towards my scholarship, I appreciate you so much. This scholarship is everything to me; it is my ticket to the university to study law. You have given my life a meaning, a ladder to higher heights, I celebrate you all.
I am grateful to Mama Linda and Pastror Kedienye for welcoming me in their home you are my parents now , to Mercy Purity for fighting so hard for me to stay in school and for taking care of my needs, to the teachers of Nkineji Primary school for paying my school fee. God bless you all.
Yours happy Student,