St Bernadette & St Mary’s School was built to accomodate our orphan children from the GLO and the impoverished children from the surrounding area. In order to ensure that the Donor Family’s wishes are carried out to the letter of the law and only these children attend the school a Social Worker is employed to carry out spot checks and investigate the background of the pupils wishing to enrol in the school. One such pupil is Ngumbao Charo and this is his story. George our Social Worker went to see his living conditions and to decide whether he met the criteria for gaining a place at St Bernadette & St Mary’s School.

Ngumbo is a twelve year old boy who lives with his father, his mother and five other siblings.He is the fourth born in the family of six and his mother is the second wife of his father. This is not an unusual practice within the Giriama Tribe who live in this area, often a man can have four wives. They have two rooms, the kitchen where some of the children sleep and a bedroom which doubles as the main living room. This is not two rooms as we would envisage them but a mud hut with one wall built with coral blocks.

Ngumbao Charo with his parents& siblings

The father is elderly and has sight problem thus cannot work, and depends on other family members.The family members believe that their father was bewitched by their uncle because the father used to work in Kaloleni and according to Ngumbao one morning an insect got into his eyes when he arrived at the work place and he started to itch. After a few minutes Charo Baya’s sight went and now he is partially blind. The 1st born child Juma does casual work, after Form 4 he left school since he could not proceed to college because of lack of fees. The money he earns supports the family members and pays the school fees for there 2nd born child Millicent who attends Kambe Secondary School. Denis the 3rd born child is in Class 8 at Shimo La Tewa P.S. about a two hour walk from their home and again funded by his brother. The next born is Ngumbao who attended the registration day at our school as the meagre wage earned by his eldest brother cannot support another child’s school fees, examination fees and school uniform. Their two last born children are disabled and depend totally on their mother for their day to day activities. The mother does hawking and she carries their last born disabled child on her back since he cannot be left alone. The older disabled child Pili stays with his father whilst his mother goes out to try to earn some money.

Ngumbao Charo with his father & brother Pili

Despite all this Ngumbao Charo always puts on a smiling face and a happy boy.To help the family ease the burden of paying school fees, Ngumbao Charo was recommended to join St. Bernadette & St Mary’s School and since the school is Christian based can help educate him about witchcraft and other areas where village life is controlled by superstitious beliefs.He relishes the time spent at school and now gets a cup of ugi every morning so at least he has one meal daily. Ngumbao Charo can be a good boy if counselled and given time to settle.
Report by George Ayieko

Part of the Charo Family

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