An orphaned Diana Anyango is a 14 year old girl was born in Ukwala district by the late Gabriel Okoth who died in 1998 and Rose Auma who died 2001. Diana was left under the care of the grandfather Johaness Mfuya in mudhiero village Butere-Mumias District where she stayed when she was going to school. The grandfather also a widower could not support her education and buying uniform books and other education requirement. Diana was then encouraged to look for a job as house girl.
One holiday, when she went to visit her aunty sister to her mother in Ginga village Wagai East sub-location, this is where I am married. She opted to live with her and therefore changed school where she sat for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in Nyagonda Primary School. She passed and was called to a nearby secondary day school but the Aunty could not afford to pay her fees to secondary and instead requested her to go and look for a job as house help in the nearby town. Diana was bearable with her Auntie’s continuous nagging story of her being hired as house girl. Whenever she would ask for even soap, she would be reminded that she was good for nothing, while on the other hand her sister in law would always want to take her to his brother to be married. After sometime of persuasion from the sister in law she accepted to get married, due to frustration, although she did not like the man. Diana regrets how problems and hatred from her relatives forced her to budge into marriage with a man she did not like. “ne aonge kuma dasoye wiya” I had nowhere to put my head.
Diana was determined to continue with studies and she believed one day she will get help. Within three months of marriage, she was still determined to escape and move on with her education. She went to the nearby market Wagai and heard my songs being played in the music store; apparently she heard me on radio one day talking about girl child education and challenges and what they should do. She then asked a lady tailor if they knew my whereabouts. She was careful and pretended she just liked my music, since I am known in that community, she then got my telephone number which is in the music CDs. Unfortunately she did not have money or phone to call me but managed to trace me through a women paralegal Anastasia Muga who contacted me and we took the matter to the chief. After having an interview with the chief and confirmation of her interest and desires, she was sent to Sagam community hospital for tests of HIV and pregnancy. After the tests were done, they took the results which were negative and an action from the chief was that Anastacia negotiates with the nearby orphanage and take her there. The man was summoned by the Chief and got some good beating. He pleaded innocent saying, “I was just given please”. The man was then released.
It was also decided upon her request for her to repeat class eight, which she did, since getting fees to high school was a challenge at that time. The paralegal Anastasia with the help of Chief and area education Officer facilitated her late registration. Diana later joined form one and she wants to be a doctor. Asking what advice she had to other girls who would be going through the same situation, Diana says “Nyaka gingé gima gidwaro engimagi to gibiro yude”. Meaning that girls must remain focused and know what they want in life and it will be possible to achieve it, she added that where there is will there is way as she was forced in married but managed to escape before conceiving because she was determined to cross the bridge to higher learning . She is not blaming the grandfather and the Aunty for pestering her to be hired as house girl, or to get married, but she says it is lack of motivation that cause girls to be more vulnerable. This encourages me to continue with primary school motivation programme even a midst logistical challenges to enable us cover a wider area.
Lastly Diana appreciates Nyapaul and the work of the paralegal Anastasia and pleads that her siblings whom she doesn’t even know there whereabouts could also be helped. She regrets that in muthiero Butere Mumias District where there are no paralegals such cases are hardly handled and there are so many girls suffering in silence. She regrets that her younger sister could have been married off if not hired as house girl and younger brothers could be just be working somewhere as a herds boy, she hopes that Nyapaul and her team would look for her sister, so that she can also continue with her education. She was grateful to the paralegal for facilitating change in her life. I relate this to a falling bridge because her schooling was already falling but through empowerment and determination she was able to cross a dwindling bridge to a brighter future. Diana is a good example and we pray that she would complete her studies.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings.