“For the first time in school, I felt that people appreciated what I did as a student seeking knowledge.”
‘School. What about it? There is nothing to say about it. I have had a hard past and a really bad experience with school. In every single and I mean every school I was bullied by both students and teachers. It was when I was in middle school when my mama had enough and decided to teach me herself, so she balanced her job as a managing director for two hotels to have enough time to give me an education.
For one and a half years she did this. I had finished three years worth of school in one and a half years. My mama then told me that she does not have the ability to give me the level of education I needed. And I have to say I can’t blame her. She was working a full time job, raising 14 kids with her best friend, and still, even though her first language is German, for my sake she was teaching me, an English based curriculum because English is my first language. What to do? My mama knew she couldn’t put me in a school because we tried all of them and we couldn’t relocate because of our family and her job. So for six months of my life as a 10 year old kid both her and my family taught me what they could, how to run a hotel, how to help people who are HIV positive, how to help single mothers or pregnant women, etc.
Then our friend recommended a school that was new, taking a chance I started going to school again. Only to have the same experience. Before two years had passed, just before October an incident happened with a teacher and once again I left school because of bullying. By some chance a friend of ours had a client who mentioned Interhigh. By December I was in school, but this time it was different. We had never tried a school on the internet and everything was different. The first few months it was really difficult for me to adjust, a different system and an unknown territory.
Then it happened. Marilyn was my geography teacher, and we were learning about Kenya. We live in Uganda so Kenya is our neighbouring country. We came to the topic of the nomadic tribe known as the Masai. It just happened to be that I learnt about their culture and knew a few personally. Since I knew a lot about them, my teacher said I should take the lesson and teach the class about them. For the rest of class I did just that. After saying goodbye to the class I logged out and just sat there, and cried. I continued crying as I left my room and all the way to my mama’s office. While I tried to explain what happened to my mama between sobs, my mama was panicking thinking that we will have to find a new school because it was happening all over again. As my tears stopped flowing, in front her staff that were there for a meeting, I explained what happened. As soon as I finished my mama started crying because finally we had found the perfect school where I fit in. For the first time in school I felt that people appreciated what I did as a student seeking knowledge.
Till this day being in Interhigh all of my teachers and fellow students I have had for the past two years have not only encouraged me but also pushed me forward. Even not knowing it, they have helped me and my family in the most unexpected ways. In March we went to the Interhigh weekend for the first time, and honestly going there and coming face to face with the people who helped me in the past years, it was amazing, emotional and both my family and I want to say thank you Interhigh for just being there.’