Local Time in Korr, Kenya

Monday, January 18, 2010

"When I was a kid, we used to walk to school uphill, both ways... In the snow"

Fabiano is his English name; I can't remember his Rendille name at the moment. He is from Marsabit which is a small city north west of Korr by about 55 km (120 km if you drive), and this is his story.

His family are beggars in Marsabit; they live on the streets or on abandoned store front porches and probably only eat about 4 times a week. There's clearly no money for anything beyond what is needed for immediate survival, so education is out of the question. But someone told Fabiano about Tirrim Secondary School in Korr, and that they were enrolling Form 1 students, and so he started WALKING.

We think he walked for about 3 days. And where he was traveling, not even the warriors go without a couple of spears by their side. It's rough terrain, as it crosses some ancient lava fields, and because it's so remote, wild animals roam uninhibited. It was all worth the cost to Fabiano, though, so he spent 2 nights lying on poky lava rocks and praying that he would be the one the hyenas missed.

He made it to Korr about 3 days before enrollment day, with the next step being to present his case to the Swanepoels... Along with about 60 other children who had no option other than Tirrim. Tirrim's appeal lies in its being one of the few private secondary schools in the area, its National Exam marks are much higher than average, its a Christian school, and has much lower fees than others. Not to mention that the teachers, yours truly, care deeply for the students. If you can find a desk at Tirrim, you've got a good shot at the future. But Fabiano's shot was small.

There were 32 students enrolled in a classroom made for 30, so the only way Fabiano would get admitted is if someone dropped, which is extremely rare. But Someone was watching out for this kid; not planning to bring him this far (literally and figuratively) without taking him all the way. One of the girls originally enrolled at Tirrim was found to have lied on her exam scores, and so she was immediately crossed off the list. Fabiano got his desk assignment then and there.

We handed him his books, had him read through the school rules, assigned him a locker, and watched him walk off with a massive armload of school supplies and an indescribable smile on his face. A smile that you rarely rarely see but literally says, "I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil (well, maybe a little), but now I get to lay down by green pastures."


  1. What a touching story and amazing fellow. I hope that you keep us posted on him and there is more good in store for him!

  2. Hi Love. What a great story!! What a ministry you can have in the lives of kids like Fabiano. This kid is destined to succeed in life. I took a copy of your blogs to Bob Sherrard in the hospital and he really enjoyed hearing about the adventures in Korr. Love you. Grandma & Grandpa.