When 17-year-old Mary Pendo Mweni scored a B-plus in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination, she was elated and so was her entire family.
She reckoned that her dream of liberating her family from the claws of abject poverty in which they live was finally taking shape. Floods swept away everything on their farm and home in Madunguni area and forced them to relocate to Maweni informal settlement in Malindi Town where her father had built a two-roomed house. The family comprises Pendo, her parents and eight siblings.
Pendo, an alumnus of Barani Secondary School in Malindi town of Kilifi County, was subsequently offered admission at the Kisii University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in law (LLB), and this development brought her even more joy.
Little did she know that her world would come down tumbling after her father, Mweni Kahindi Kenga, suffered a stroke and the money set aside for her education was diverted to cater for his medication.
She is now appealing to well-wishers to come to her aid and help her take up her place before September 10, 2020, the deadline of the university’s online registration for first year government-sponsored students.
If she misses out, she will have to wait till 2022 when the next batch of first year students is expected to join university, she told journalists at her home on Thursday.
“The money that my parents had set aside for me to join university was all spent on my father’s medication, leaving me with no hope of ever joining university,” a tearful Pendo told reporters at their home within the Maweni informal settlement.
Before suffering the stroke, Pendo’s father earned a living as a mason who also doubled up as a motorcycle taxi (bodaboda) operator in Malindi town. His condition cannot allow him to do anything now, leaving his wife to do menial jobs, including washing clothes for people, to earn a living.
Journalists found Pendo, the third born among nine children, pounding maize in a mortar at their home as her mother, Eunice Nanjala, prepared a meal of boiled plain maize for the family’s lunch.
“I really do not want to miss this opportunity, and I am appealing to anybody who can hold my hand and support me so that my dream of helping the society as a lawyer may come true,” Pendo said on Saturday.
Her mother said that her efforts to get sponsorship had run to naught and that she was helplessly watching as her daughter’s luck slips away.
She said that although area Member of County Assembly (MCA) Kadenge Mwathethe is willing to help, he told her that the kitty does not have money due to the stalemate in the Senate regarding the sharing of revenue among counties.
“I went to our area Member of County Assembly, who offered to help my daughter through the county ward bursary fund. I filled the forms but I am still waiting since I am told there is a problem at the Senate,” she said.
Pendo can be reached through her cell phone number 0768695010 or her former class teacher’s cell phone number 0721959733.
By Emmanuel Masha