First Day of School

-Written by Elizabeth Onekalit

He is ten years old and it is his first day of school, ever. He doesn’t know what to expect and is nervous and excited all at the same time. The past few months the village has been abuzz preparing for the educators to arrive. He has watched and even helped build the structure that today will become his classroom.

He hoists his chair above his head and follows some of the other children as they make their way through the grass, which has grown too tall. As he nears the structure he sees a tall man waving everyone in. He stops just before the tall man, looks up and sees a smile as the man greets him in his mother tongue. He knows my language! He thinks to himself with surprise.

As he sets his chair down next to a child who lives in a hut near his, his mind wanders back to when his mother and father came home from the first meeting which was held to talk about building a school. He had seen the Munus (whites) before but tried not to let his curiosity get the best of him whenever they came to visit.  His mother and father were gone the whole day and upon their arrival back home, he was called in to take a seat on the mat on the dirt floor of their hut. They explained to him that a place called Our Call Missions, based in a town south of them, wanted to help the children of this village get an education. In order for this to happen the village would have to come together to build a structure for the classroom. He wondered to himself how everyone in the village was going to cooperate to get this done. They told him that once the structure was built, two men, called educators, would move into the village and begin teaching children of all ages in the same classroom.

“Omaro Johnson, are you present, Omaro Johnson?”

The child next to him nudges his side as he hears his name being called.

“Omaro Johnson?”

He raises his hand and smiles at the tall man in front of the children and he knows that today is the beginning of something that is going to change his life forever.

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