|Mwalimu (Erick) and Allison|
About 4 years ago Erick Otieno Oduor had a dream of becoming a primary school teacher. He came from a very humble background and was a very poor boy compared to most of the other students. He was a bright student at primary level and pursued his education and passed well at Nyamwanga Primary school. However, his chance to join high school was jeopardized because he lacked the school fees and money to buy school supplies. His parent’s meager income could not suffice. By God’s grace, well wishers devoted to pay his school fees with his parents stepping in whenever they could. He successfully went to school at Butula Boys High school before he was forced to transfer to Bumala Mixed Secondary School where he finally sat his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. When he sat for his K.C.S.E he passed and got a C+, a grade that would enable him to go to college and pursue his dream of becoming a teacher.
|Erick in a past photo|
Life then became difficult after high school. Once again he could not pay his way through college. He stayed at home with his parents for sometime before the innate desire to help his parents and alleviate their suffering overcame him necessitating him to travel to Kisumu where he worked as an untrained teacher in a local primary school. They paid him very little money and he was torn between saving his income to enable him to later go to school and providing for his basic needs. He gave up his teaching job when he got employed by the prince of peace ministries Kisumu as a water vendor. He sold water for the Obunga residents to make ends meet and literally, he became the type of young men whom everyone has looked down upon. Fortunately, it is while working at the water kiosk that Erick met Allison Schlack, who committed to sponsoring him through college. That will forever be a defining moment in his life, because since then, life has never been the same.
|Erick, Ashley, and Michael in a past photo|
I’m so happy because I can only tell his story now because last week I watched his dream come true as he graduated with a P1 certificate at Bungoma Teachers Training College. It was pomp and glory as friends and relatives went to witness the graduation ceremony.
|Erick & his mom, Alice|
The school was abuzz with preparations for the day as graduates moved up and down in readiness for this memorable occasion when we arrived. Despite the ceremony commencing several hours late, everything went on well and Allison; the young lady from the United States of America, as the master of ceremony referred to her not only got the chance to witness Erick graduate but she also got the opportunity to address the convocation.
|Allison addressing the gathering|
I was so happy to see Erick realize his dream of becoming a teacher. I have seen him elevated: that poor guy working at the water kiosk, the boy who could hardly fend for himself, and the one who could hardly even think of ever going to college. It has been our joy at Ndoto to see him dream to become a teacher, go to college, finish college and start a school in Obunga, get a job with Ndoto and grow into the man God wanted him to be. There is no greater joy than this and this is the most interesting part about Ndoto; seeing students join the program when they are very needy and about to give up, and then change for the better, gain confidence, work hard and proceed to realize their dreams once absorbed in the program.
In today’s world, where determination is rare, Erick has demonstrated that with determination and trust in God, one can dream and be what they want to be.
|Erick & Family|
Most people give up when things get tough or difficult. Despite the struggles he faced, Erick exhibited a tenacity that refuses to give up or give in because he knew he was on the right track doing the right thing and that God had great plans for his life just as He promises in Jeremiah 29:11. One of the greatest lessons I learnt as I watched Erick graduate is that your success can never be determined by your situation. I have even realized that it is easier to achieve success when you’re uncomfortable than when you’re comfortable because comfort makes it difficult for you to think, it makes you think of pleasure alone while making you forget about work. This may not be true, but it will do for now, and for my good friend Erick.
|Michael, mwalimu and David|
Other than hard work, determination and trust in God, I would attribute much of Erick’s success to the sponsorship Ndoto For Africa’s Future accorded him. For Erick and most of the students in Obunga who have been lucky to join the program, life has never been the same. Since the advent of Ndoto, gone are the days when college was only for the rich and privileged in the slums of Obunga and its environs. With so many colleges to choose from and with financial aid and sponsorship available, nearly anyone with the desire, preparation and fortitude can earn a college degree and realize their dream careers!
CONGRATULATIONS MWALIMU ON YOUR GRADUATION!!