There is a small unpopular nursery school in Tiaty, Baringo County in Kenya, brimming with promises for the future.
Not because they have the biggest air-conditioned classes. For indeed, there is no air-conditioning, nor do they sit in a class for there is none. They do not use swivel chairs or wooden seats, and neither do they seat in plastic ones.
No. They do not write on desks. Their teachers do not teach them on iPads or laptops or even modern white boards.
As a matter of fact, they sit on rough igneous stones – which serve as both chair and desk – neatly arranged so every student knows his place, with spaces between them to allow for tiny cracked feet covered in thick red soil, bearing evidence to the long distance they have to walk every day to school and back home. And once in a while, snake bites have not been uncommon among the nursery students.
From sunrise, till late afternoon when school dismisses, the little students struggle to concentrate while the blazing sun of the Baringo County threatens to scorch them into tar. Several of their lessons are disrupted several times, as herds of cattle usually graze in the bushes nearby, most likely soiling the premise that the students so laboriously sweep every morning.
It is a school brimming with promises because its premise is filled with brilliant children of four and five and six and seven eager to learn.
What’s more? The school happens to be the only one in the area – a 150 Km radius – with children up to Class Eight. Its premise is located at more than 150 Km away from any other township settlement.
And apart from these difficulties, a visit to the school is apt to convince even the more cynical visitor of the passion with which these students seek to learn, as they listen carefully to what their teachers say.
And the different classes are so close together that the teachers usually struggle for who would be the loudest, screaming at the top of their voices. The different classes can only be differentiated by the direction in which the students face, which usually is the direction in which the teacher stands, screaming his lessons to the youngsters.
In spite of the many hurdles they face, as opposed to because of it, it is exceedingly remarkable how these children walk all the way through the bushes and the plains, the mountains and the rocks, 16 Kilometer every day to school and then back, all day without food, hoping to achieve their dreams of an education.