In Her Own Words: KEEP Scholar Writes About Life In Kabudula, Malawi

My name is Gladys, and I am a 15 year old girl in form 2 (Sophomore) at Kabudula Community Day Secondary School.  I come from a family of farmers. I live with my sister and my guardian.  We also have 3 goats, one chicken, two ducks, and one dog.  I have 3 sisters and one brother.  After school, I want to be a nurse.

Each morning I wake up at 5am.  I sweep around the home, clean plates, and then go take a bath.  After bathing, I walk to school, which is 15 km away.  When I walk to school, I sing songs and dance when I am happy.  After school, I eat nsima (corn porridge, a Malawian staple food) and have a rest.  I then go to the well to draw water, clean plates, bathe my sister's children, and bathe myself.  I cook nsima again every evening for supper.  When there is moon, we play at night with our friends from different villages.  If we are tired, we go in our sleeping room to sleep.

The challenges of my school are many: we don't have a library or a laboratory; we don't have enough houses for teachers; we don't have security to keep the school safe; poor parents are unable to pay school fees; we don't have boarding facilities for students from far away; we have poor electricity; and we don't have enough school classrooms.

If I had money to help our school, my ideas would be to build a library, pay fees for all the students that are from poor families, build houses for students and teachers, build a laboratory, and build more school blocks (classrooms).

If we could fix the problems of our school, it would bring so much good to our community.  Our school would become well-known.  The exam (national exam) results of form 4 could be higher amongst Malawi.  With a good education, I could be the first child in my family to go to college.  The well-educated students from Kabudula could help develop our community and our country.  Also, we could help encourage the youngest children continue their education.

I have personal challenges in my life.  The biggest challenge is paying school fees.  My mother died in 2002.  My father remarried another woman who does not want me in their home.  It is difficult to ask him for school fees, because he is afraid of his wife.  My sister helps, and pays my school fees from the money she makes farming.  It is not simple for me and my sisters to buy clothes and shoes for me.  It is difficult for us to find money to buy clothes and food for every day.  The other daily difficulty I have is walking from my village to school which is almost 15 km away.

I also have many things I enjoy in my life.  I love chatting with my friends at school and at home; singing praise songs at church or at home and school with my friends; I like playing with the children of my sister after school; I like drawing water from the well; I also like teaching the children of our family things to do in every day life and also teach them to respect their elders and G-d.

I appreciate the opportunity that WAM and KEEP are giving me to help my future. Thank you.