It’s been an amazing time here in the Nyumbani Village, and one of the reasons is the people you meet. I am privileged to share the life story of a fine gentleman: Fredrick Kyalo, who is the deputy head teacher at the Hotcourses Primary School.
Fredrick is the first born in a family of two sisters and a brother who grew up outside Kitui. With the help of his par- ents, he managed to get through primary school, where he performed well. He re- ceived placement in one of the good local secondary schools. But life began to take a different course while he was in his third year in that school, after the death of his parents. Because of the stigma of HIV/AIDS-related illness, his relatives abandoned the family and chased the children away from their family land.
One of their neighbors took them to the local Catholic church. The church mission could only accommodate his younger siblings who were still in prima- ry school. It had no secondary school to help Fredrick with his situation. What it did have was a connection with the Nyumbani Village, which found a place for Fredrick. He joined the Village in his third year of secondary school, which was 2006.
Fredrick says that the warm welcome he received in the Village made him feel at home, compared to that ancestral home that turned hostile. The Village gave Fredrick not only a place to stay, but pro- vided basic needs, including his educa- tion. After completing his secondary school with the help of his new home (Nyumbani Village), he joined a teachers training college—Kilimambogo Teachers Training College—where he attended from 2008-2010.
After finishing college, he had to make the tough decision whether to go back to his ancestral home or get back to the Village. He made the decision to return to the Village because of the stig- ma at the other home. At Nyumbani Village, he volunteered to teach in the primary school for nine months. A de- mand for teachers then created a vacan- cy and he went for it, emerging the overall victor after the interviews. Talk- ing to him, however, he explains that it wasn’t just a relief to have any job: it was a relief to have a job that allowed him to give back to his community.
Since that time, Fredrick has become a major pillar in the ongoing effort to build up the school, which has been performing very well in testing and in placing its students. He says he is proud of his decision to join the Village and he continues to work toward self-improvement as well. After taking the job at Nyumbani Village, he joined a local university, taking an English literature course of study. He graduates in March 2017. Besides paying those college fees, Fredrick continues to lend support to his siblings. Although he isn’t married yet, he said his goal is to see his siblings are well settled, then think of marriage.
Being part of the Village has allowed him a way to set goals and accomplish them. With his input and the help of the Village administration, he says he is quite optimistic that the Village and school will only continue to get better. Apart from his normal working duties, Fredrick is involved in many of the Village sports efforts and is especially active in football. Last year, he coached both women and men football teams to the county semi- finals. He’s also active and involved with the community as a member or as secre- tary of several organizations.
Looking forward, Fredrick says that now that his studies are almost done, he is going on a mission to look for a piece of land and start the next phase of his life.
*This article was originally published in Nyumbani USA’s Spring 2017 Newsletter, edited by Genilee Parente.
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