Girl forced to crush stones as hopes for better education fade
Joyce Wangari, 16, and her mother Margaret Wambui crush stones into ballast at a construction site in Ongata Rongai. Joyce sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams at Bethel Academy in Rongai in 2010 and scored 316 marks out of a possible 500 but lacked school fees to enable her to join Ewaso Girls’ High School.
Many will agree that crushing stones into ballast is no girl’s job. But this is what 16-year-old Joyce Wangari has to do to keep her going.
The sharp rocks are unforgiving on her gentle hands but she says it is the only means to help her single mother.
Wangari sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams in 2010 and scored 316 marks out of a possible 500 but her mother could not raise the Sh26,000 fees to enable her to join secondary school.
Her admission letter to Ewaso Girls’ High School lies in the house.
A family friend took her to Nakuru last year after promising to enrol her in a secondary school only to be withdrawn from the institution two months later due to a strike.
And a year later, she is still hopeful that one day she will get a sponsor to pay for her education despite a false start.
She has gone through tough times in her quest for education.
For instance, she spent six months at an orphanage in Nakuru as she waited for ‘sponsor’ to pay for her school fees.
“I stayed at the orphanage helping out with chores as I waited for a sponsor,” she told the Nation last week.
She continued: “My mother painstakingly came for me as the thought of staying in an orphanage while she was still alive saddened her.”
For now, she has taken up a casual job with her mother at a construction site in Rongai to make ends meet.
Mother and daughter crush stones into ballast every day.
Proceeds from the sale of the ballast are negligible compared to the energy and fatigue the pair has to contend with under the scorching sun.
“We are paid Sh50 per wheelbarrow which takes half a day to fill,” Ms Margaret Wambui, her mother, told the Nation at Ole Kasasi area in Ongata Rongai.