Around 5:30 a.m. each day, Mucee’s elder sister, Mawia Kisasi, pulls back the single blanket that covers his brother. “Wee, Mucee, ukia (wake up), or you get late for school.” Mucee turns and slowly stretches his legs, surprised that it is already morning. To him, it seems like he had just lain down to sleep. He gets up and puts two cups of water into the wash basin and splashes his face. He then puts on the only school uniform and goes towards the cooking shed to eat the overnight millet ugali that the sister had warmed. He won’t carry packed lunch because his school serves Githeri, a cooked mixture of maize and beans, at lunch time.
Mucee is 17-years-old and in Class Six at Mutairu Primary school. His father, Kisasi Nzamuryo, and mother, Kathumbi Kisasi, are peasants in Ngomeni, Kenya. The family is large with eight children and one deceased. His elder sister, Mawia dropped out of school to take care of their ailing mother. Apart from depending on seasonal rains for their livelihood of subsistence farming, Mucee’s family has no other way to earn a living.
Ignoring the noise and commotion from his younger siblings who are waking up, he grabs his school bag with books and starts running towards school. It is now 6:30 a.m., and Mucee must run carefully so not to step on a snake along the narrow path. He is just on time before the morning bell rings and the teacher starts caning those who come after 7:00 a.m.
As the day gradually progresses, Mucee looks across from his desk at a beautiful girl and quickly remembers his class counselor’s advice: “Ignore the opposite sex until you can marry.” Sometimes he also has trouble concentrating because he is worried over his mother’s terminal condition, which puts her in and out of hospital. At times, she is bedridden for days. As a result, his father is unable to provide basic items, including news school uniforms for the children when needed.
Getting water to drink and for his their daily activities has also been another constant struggle for Mucee’s family and one of his worries. They used to fetch water about more than nine miles away from home until earlier this year when the government constructed an earth dam (the largest in Kenya) just one mile away where they collect water. This water, however, is just surface water, and although it is closer to Mucee’s family, it is still unsafe for drinking. Two of Mucee’s classmates dropped out of school last year due to the long walks to fetch water under the hot sun and lack of school fees. Poverty, lack of clean water, disease, and lack of opportunity for a good education are great challenges that affect 75 percent of the adolescent boys in primary schools in Kyuso District.
Water.org and its local partner ADRA recently worked with Mucee’s community to get safe water and sanitation for the first time! There is a borehole well and community latrine in his community being completed right now. New latrines are also being built at Mucee’s school as part of this program and will be complete within weeks. Now, having his most basic needs met, Mucee will no longer have to worry about waterborne disease or walking miles for water for his family. He can instead focus on his education and opportunities for a better life. Thank you for making this program possible!