i chased my dream

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 19, 2016

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Submitted: October 19, 2016

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I chased my dream

I, Okemwa Kwambai, am a fourteen-year-old Kenyan boy. Many take education for granted, or maybe don’t even want to go to school. I hope that my story will change your mind.

In my small village, Nyagalani, in the northwestern region of Kenya, there was only one school, a private school. Most parents, mine included, could not afford to send their children to school. This is the reason that most villagers could neither read nor write, so finding a well-paying job was very difficult. There had already been several attempts to open a public school, but Bobby Smith, the man in charge of the private school, always found a way to stop the protests. However, on my thirteenth birthday, the 30th of August 2013, I realized that my dream was to open a public school in Nyagalani so that every child would have an education. When I announced my plan to my parents and my eight siblings, they said that even though many attempts had failed, they would support me no matter what. These are the events that occurred.

I am very happy that my neighbours have agreed to protest alongside me; they are good friends of the mayor and may be able to convince him that free education will benefit our town. Some people say that a town of two thousand is too small to house a public school, but I assure them that if one does not have an education, one cannot forge a life elsewhere. I have already convinced 521 people to protest alongside my family.

Bobby Smith is the most powerful soul in town even more powerful than the mayor. He is the reason there is no public school in a hundred mile radius. He is the wealthy Englishman who runs the private schools in the area. He also receives a sum of the shillings that families pay to enroll their children. He does everything in his power to keep it that way.

I’m walking home and suddenly, I hear the cries of children, my siblings. In my confusion, I have not felt the ground shaking underneath my bare, blistered feet. An earthquake, I’m sure of it. The homes made of wood and straw start shaking menacingly. I hear handcrafted bowls shattering once striking the ground. Most of my siblings are running out of our crumbling home and into my arms. Then, my parents find their way out, my father carrying my youngest brother and sister. I have never been so scared in my life but I’m not showing it because if I do, my younger siblings will be even more terrified than they already are. I have to be strong for them.

Miraculously, my entire family has survived. Unfortunately others have not been as lucky. I notice my father approaching me, he strokes my short hair and while staring into my terrified green eyes, he whispers “Son, this might be the right moment to begin the protest.” I know he is speaking the truth but I doubt I could lead a protest at this time of devastation.

Our neighbours walk toward us, holding back tears, and between sobs say: “We will protest with you, our son would have wanted to do so as well.” Their son, my friend, I will do it for him.

I start gathering the remaining protesters. Even though we are not many, we have heart; we are marching and chanting through the village. Unsurprisingly, the only unharmed building is the private school. I notice students peeking at us through the windows.

I am approaching the school; I can feel the scared and pained glances of the students. All of a sudden, the door swings open and Bobby Smith shouts. “Leave, right now! This is private property! I don’t want no filthy people setting foot on this clean ground. That includes you, sonny!” Now I know that our protest will not succeed; Bobby Smith doesn’t care one bit about us. However there has to be another way. I am about to tell all my fellow protesters to go home and fight another day, but the sad, terrified eyes of a particular student give me the answer.

“We must convince the families of the students to protest with us, then the Englishman will have no other choice!” I lead the way to Mrs. Kogo’s house (she is the “wealthiest” Kenyan in town and sends her twelve children to the private school) and luckily her house is still partially intact. I spot her shoveling bits of clay and wood into her big wheelbarrow. She notices me and comes a bit closer, waiting for me to speak. “We are protesting to open a public school and with your help we could succeed.”

She answers me in a neutral tone, “And why would I do that? Mr. Smith has given my children education. I cannot lose that”.

“But you are poor because of it, with free education, you could live a regular life once again”.

“Alright, but if this goes ‘till tomorrow, I’m out.” We convince thirty more parents of students to join us, and once again, we head towards the private school.

Yet again, I knock on the door. Bobby Smith opens it. “ I told you to leave!” he shouts at me.

“I have brought the parents of the children, and they will remove their children from this school”.

Bobby Smith looked stunned, “ They won’t do that.”  He looked worried though. “ You will have no more students in your school.  Now, you can either run a non-school, or you can pack your bags.”

Bobby’s face is pale as he answers: “I’ll pack my bags.” The students bewilderedly walk out of their old school and into their parents’ arms. I find a can of paint and I borrow a ladder, and above the entrance I write, “ School of Hope”. I have achieved my dream through luck, love but most importantly, hope.


© Copyright 2017 Sebastian High. All rights reserved.

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