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HERO STORIES

My name is Omissale.

I speak both Swahili and English.My typical day goes something like this. I wake up at 4 a.m. I get ready for school and have tea. Sometimes I eat breakfast and sometimes I don’t. I walk 1.5 kilometers (about one mile) to school. My shoes have some holes on the bottom, so water gets in through the holes, but this is my only pair of shoes. There are 57 students in my class. We get to sing in class and dance on our breaks. We speak English in class on Monday to Thursday and Swahili on Friday to Sunday. I like performing in plays. We all eat the same meal at lunch time, it is served from a bin and we get a scoop of it on our plate. Our classrooms are one room buildings with dirt floors and no air conditioning. Our math teacher makes learning fun by congratulating students that get the right answer to his problems. If I can earn money,I would like to pay for orphans to go to school. My mother sells clothes on the street and buys food for us with the money she makes. I walk home from school each day, go home and do my homework, eat and then sleep. I live with my parents and my brothers and sisters. We are a family of three girls and two boys. My family has a small piece of land called a shamba. We have a garden where we grow food, one cow and some chickens. I help with fetching water and finding firewood. Those are the chores that I always do, plus tending to the farm animals. When I am done with my chores I can eat dinner and do my homework. Then it is time for bed.

Life for a typical teenager in a Kenyan village:

Wake up time: 4:30 -5:30 a.m. Many times all siblings sleep in the same room, sometimes with their parents as well. Some homes are only one room and consist of beds and a fire for cooking. The homes often do not have windows or flooring. There is no air conditioning or electricity. Most teenagers do not own a smart phone or a cellphone. There is no internet as there is no electricity. Breakfast is most likely a cup of tea with a little sugar. Most students share a desk. Bathrooms are outside of the school. Schools fortunate enough to have a latrine sometimes have a water tank for hand washing next to them. Water is collected from the rainwater in gutters. After school most teens help the family with chores and spend any free time away from this work completing homework before bedtime.