My name is Lisayo and I live in Ng’areng’iro village near Ol Pajeta ranch. We have a big family of six members. My father passed away eight years ago. I have two brothers and two sisters. We live in a horrible house with my family. My elder sister’s name is Jane. She is an intelligent girl. After finishing her primary education she wanted to go for higher education, but due to the poverty of our family she had to drop that idea. Then she decided to take a job so that she could help our mother maintain the family. She started to look for a job in a nearby town. She spent days looking for a job, but she could not find any. My mum gave her pieces of advice to look for a job in another town, which was about eight kilometers from our home. Everyday she used to go on foot early in the morning and return late in the evening. Thus, she spent more than three months looking for a job. Unfortunately she was not lucky enough to get one.
One day while I was returning home from school, I sat under a tree to rest and I started thinking in my mind, “what bad luck?” For the past three months my sister had been looking for a job, but she had not succeeded. Really I felt pity for my sister who had to struggle so hard at this age to maintain the family. Oh God! Please help my sister in getting a job. The tears of despondency ran down my tomato cheeks and drew an odd number eleven. But tears and crying is not the medicine. After resting for ten minutes I rose up and I walked toward our home. I was walking slowly because I was very hungry that day. It was the second day for me and my family staying without food. In fact, it took me one and a half hours to walk from school, but usually it was 30 minutes.
After arriving home, I found my sister sitting outside our house. I walked slowly toward her. She hugged me and we went straight to our house. We sat on the round wood that was our seat and some baskets that I was collecting from the garbage. Our bed was made with sticks and on it was some grass and skin to make it like a mattress. During the month of July we were suffering because we didn’t have blankets to warm ourselves at night. This was my worst month with my family. During those cold nights we used fire to warm ourselves.
I was provided with a school uniform from class one to class eight by the people of my village. My mum was struggling hard to educate me and provide all the materials required at school. Sometimes I stayed at home for one month because we couldn’t pay the fees. After doing my national exam my mum was not able to take me to high school because of lack of money. I was very disappointed, but I remembered with faith all things are possible. I woke up everyday early in the morning to pray for a way to get to secondary school.
One day I was just sitting outside our house and I saw a man coming toward me when he arrived he gave me an envelope. On the top was written “Daraja Academy”. He told me to open it and I did. After opening it, the man helped me fill out the gaps. I returned the envelope to him. On Tuesday I was given an interview. The people came to interview me and they told me I would wait to hear the report on 15th February. On Monday, Miss Jenni called me. She told me I am admitted to Daraja Academy. I was very happy and I thankful for this blessing.
Today at Daraja Academy
Lisayo is famous on campus for exceptional athletic abilities. Her excellence in athletics, along with support from her peers, has brought out a latent inner confidence. Lisayo has learned to strive in high-pressure national competitions. “I was nervous, very nervous,” she said recently about her 400-meter hurdle race in early April [pictured below]. “But I thought, I can be just as good as anyone here.” Lisayo not only blew by the competition, but advanced to the next level.
A once painfully shy girl, Lisayo has learned to come into her own “A challenge for me used to be speaking in public, but at Daraja we are encouraged to be confident women. I was able to overcome that challenge, and maybe I’ll continue to overcome any new challenge that I am confronted with.”