As I bid good bye to the month of July, I am aware of the challenges that the month of August brings to many families. On the most part, a number of parents are looking forward to taking sometime to spend with their children. Some who are blessed will be taking time off to go on holiday while those with deep roots in the village, may well be planning a time to engage with the farm and while at it, teach their children one or two things about growing up.
But there are also those families that are in between where the children who look forward to coming home are left to their own to find how to tap into their holidays as the parents make ends meet. My interest lies in the youth who will be seen for the next short while before they proceed to the gates of learning that will usher in the last term of the year.
The reality of what life has to offer is but a distant dream for these young ones. I remember myself – a lanky lad easily absorbed in the multitude of boys at Chinga High School many years ago. A poor boy from Kieni who by being here it was a miracle in itself. A few like myself were at this school to try and see if we would end up being somebody in the landscape of this great nation.
We clinged with every breath and muscle at the prospect that by doing our best we would definitely be on our way to having a better life. The teachers, many of them old schoolers and with dreams of their own, were insistent on the need for better grades and to those who were top performers it was never a moment to settle but to be on the lookout for even greater opportunities to shine brighter. And shine we did, for the school was reknown for being an education giant – a far comparison from the status I found it on this last day of July.
As an old boy of Chinga Boys High School, I was pleasantly surprised to be called by the Chairman of the Board to join a team of alumni at the school and preside over the prize giving day this term. The school has not changed much from my days as a student from Kieni. But there has been a tremendous shift in the way the boys express themselves and how the school lead by it’s Principal run the affairs of the school.
One young man Mr. Mabior who is the school captain is easily recognizable from his uniform. But his authority is word and though soft spoken it appears discipline is at his finger tips. I was elated to be the Guest of Honor even though the schedule coincided with a handover of wheelchairs in the area.
ABOVE: Mr. George Wachiuri (3rd left) Chairman of the Optiven Foundation with a beneficiary in Ndia-ini on 31st July 2019 during a handover of a wheelchair. This was under the Mobility to Bring Smiles initiative under the Optiven Foundation.
My emotions of my days at this school kept my attention busy as I sat infront of those parents. Parents many of them women were here to celebrate their own sons and for some just glad that they would be able to see their children again. My mind reminisces back to my days at the school, and I could see my mother sitted among the parents in my school days and looking out for me.
One of my pillars of encouragement, I still look for advise from her even in my old age – now that I am a father too. Her example is what makes me prioritise my family and remember that no one is useless, thus the need to give back to society. I want to particulary applaud the Chinga High Board for their decision to publicly appreciate and reward the students who perform well especially those leaving the institution.
But on this day as I addressed the parents and students I was keen to remember my days of youth and the challenges that I faced then. The environment has changed quite some from those days and for me it has been an eye opener engaging with the youth and more so the boy child.
While societal expectations have remained largely unchanged where the boy is concerned, the youth of today are also facing technological challenges amidst a shift in culture that has left them with nowhere to run to. It is a confusing time for the young men because they are not sure who to run to in fear of reproach, being judged and even worse being considered a bad example in the societies they live in. With these challenges being as real as can be, it is therefore important for the older generation to step in and guide the youth.
This can be done by availing opportunities for the youth to share their challenges while the older ones and their parents share their experiences before coming together in a pot of understanding. This duty cannot be left to the teachers only nor to the church to raise the next generation.
It is an effort and requirement for all of us to reach out to the youth. As I scan through the landscape I realise a lot has changed with the increasing number of developments on the road. But not with the status of the school as it stands. This giant is wasting away – with amenities of the early 1980’s now serving a growing number of students.
With the world moving towards a techno-centric ecosystem, there is need to invest in this through erecting a state of the art techno-based library. There is need to engage the alumni of Chinga High School to do a little for the school that made them who they are. While the parents have done great, there is much need on the ground and as the incoming chairman of the Alumni, I am keen to work with partners while inviting the old boys to come light this flame of Chinga with me.
It takes many hands to make light work, but more importantly, it takes one step at a time to complete the journey of 1000 miles.
George Wachiuri: A Leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group
Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300