|By Reuben Apuya|
Our goal on Friday, 23rd October 2022, as we traveled through Nairobi, Nakuru, Nandi, Kisumu, and finally Siaya County was simple: to change the life of one person in Siaya. The trip was long and exhausting, with several stops for those of us whose bladders filled faster than others. We arrived in Bondo at around 8:30 p.m. after a 10-hour journey, with our hosts ready to serve us.
We were scheduled to visit Kapiyo Secondary School, which is located in Bondo and our goal was to conduct mentoring sessions with the students. This was through an invitation by the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Vincent Ogutu who sits on the school’s Board. Early the next morning, we arrived at the school to a warm reception from both the students and teachers. To our amusement, the school Principal addressed us as ‘Wageni Waheshimiwa’ which means highly esteemed visitors. Ready to get started with the program, we each settled into the classes for a mentoring weekend.
This mentoring experience in Kapiyo reminded me of my ‘why’. Having been actively involved in mentoring activities under the Community Outreach Programme for the past three years, I, over time, willingly accepted this calling by devoting my efforts and time (including my annual leave days) to tend to young souls. Contrary to what many would imagine, mentoring young students is no walk in the park. Faced with the reality of their challenging life situations, I have at times felt helpless. Interacting with students who are in the prime of their lives but drowning in the seas of drugs, poverty and despair, it is impossible to remain unperturbed. Some of their struggles have an eerie resemblance to my own experiences and this gives me the strength to dig deep to draw lessons and words of encouragement, if only to keep them going for a few more days.
Mentoring to me is personal as I am simply paying forward that which was so freely given to me when I was in high school by the likes of Michael Babu, Project Manager at the Community Service Centre, who came to my school and encouraged me. Of the best gifts I have received from life, spreading love and joy are at the top of the list. Consequently, I enjoy making people smile and the best part of it all is the sight of the less fortunate smiling and at peace, knowledge that they have people who care about them. This is my true source of happiness, and I want to make other students and people happy by doing what I love.
The author of this article is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Class of 2022.