“There once was” shall forever remain in the tongues of the pioneers, tales they’ll tell of Kamrio village in East Pokot before Kamrio Primary School did its first KCPE.
The path trod by these pioneers shall forever remain a landmark of reference; a journey of faith, hope, determination, patience and endurance measured and weighed down that their hearts can verify what was, when, how far and how much…
Some were lucky to be born in a family that understood the essence of education while a majority were fortunate to have been chosen by their fathers who thought it wise to try them out in school.
To some, school was fun, learning to speak Swahili and playing soccer while their ‘ranger’ brothers and sisters watched awhile herding wishing they too had an opportunity.
However, to some, being woken up early for school and not herding ‘their pride’ felt like torture that it took many a hide and seek affair running from parents and teachers before they settled in school.
It was out of the concern we had for these pioneers of Kamrio that Kamrio Mentorship was born, a model Kuwa Mwenyewe mentorship program advancing efforts towards realization of education for every Pokot Child in East Pokot.
The 16 pioneers of Kamrio Primary School did their KCPE in 2014, fifty one years since Kenya’s independence in 1963 and 17 years since its establishment in 1997. The 16 were composed of four girls and twelve boys and all except one proceeded to secondary school. The one, Akadong’uria, was married and more advanced in years and went on to Chesawach Primary School to teach as a volunteer. He had earlier dropped out of school, then later on resumed to Kamrio primary school teaching the lower classes 1 to 4 as a volunteer when he joined the pioneers as a candidate to do the National Examination.
Of the pioneers that transited to high school, two brothers dropped early in form one because of lack of school fees and the unwillingness of the father to sell a few animals to cater for their fees.
Two more young men dropped in form two, also on account of lack of school fees. In form three one of the girls mysteriously left school. She is said to have sneaked back later to pick her box and her whereabouts is unknown to date.
The others stayed put, some had to switch schools, but pressed on, and are now the fortunate first fruits of education realized in Kamrio Primary School in Kamrio village, Akoret, East Pokot, Baringo.
Some of these pioneers were residents of Kamrio village while others came from far off villages and had to be hosted by relatives, clansmen and friends at Kamrio village so they too could study.
Kamrio primary school is apparently still the only school with KCPE status in the whole of Akoret (Kapau Division) in Tirioko Ward, Tiaty Sub-County, Baringo County, Kenya and still hosts many children coming from far off ends of East Pokot to have a taste of education.
The journeys of these pioneers reveal, not only sweat and tears, but more fierce the pressure they endured seeing some of their counterparts dropping out of school while they had to meet their community’s high expectations, that through them, the community would approve of the true value of education.
Among these pioneers are resilient young men like Kodoo; he watched the closure of Kamrio Primary School intermittently and resumed studies whenever it reopened. Kamrio Primary School still faces a lot of challenges in enrolling children to school and retaining them in school. For a long time the school had only taught children up to class 3 surviving on the willing hearts of volunteer teachers. As of June 2017, the school had only 2 TSC placed teachers and the rest were volunteers. It is a great privilege today for Kamrio Primary School to have 6 teachers placed by TSC, they are not sufficient but the school has come a long way.
Then there’s Dorcas Chebet, a first born in her family, holding on to that candle, carrying it on to the rest of the world, that her siblings and her community at large may look up, desire to have a bite of the education fruit, and follow suit.
Coming along too is Chelatan, seemingly timid but Bold and Beautiful in thought; that she once wanted out of school for the love of sleep and hating the almost 2 hours walk on a steep slope from home to school, switching schools when she felt she wasn’t in the right place unearths her strength found in her growing understanding and awareness of self.
Mariach Petaluk, alias Long’urakow, among the pioneers is a self motivated lad pursuant to be a man of God. He was born in West Pokot but was raised by his Grandparents in Chesawach, East Pokot. His education would have been but a dream had his uncle not intervened when his grandfather had taken him from West Pokot to come look after the family’s herd. Mariach was hosted by family friends at Kamrio while studying at the village primary school. He is a fervent and committed youth leader at the local church. A God fearing man, his story will turn many pages.
Tokoch, from Chepelow in Kapau, whose resilience beats all odds is another pioneer story unfolding. He happens to be the first from his village to have studied up to class 8 and as such all through high school. He resided with his in-laws while at Kamrio so he could study.
Reuben Long’iroi , another wonderful tale comes along. He repeated classes so many times but still never gave up and is among the first fruits of the educated in Kamrio.
Celestine the silent listener is also on board; so are the brothers, Dennis and Patrick Rikuno.
The boat sailed may not have been the same for the pioneers through high school but sure the waters sailed were similar and as strange to them as the community they represent. Strong winds here, a wreck there to fix, they sailed on; each had their fair share of challenges that threatened their pursuance on holding the banner of education up high, but all persevered, endured and emerged victors when they completed their KCSE in 2018.
Written by Obsurvative
Obsurvative is a Christian Poet and Hip Hop Artist, A Creative Social Entrepreneur and A Mentor.
He is the Founder and Executive Director of Kuwa Mwenyewe