Mercy Atieno

High School Class of 2022

Mercy’s mother died giving birth to her younger sister and her father died of meningitis, so she and her younger sister, Joy, lived with her grandmother in the Homa Bay area.  She had gone to a private school, Heartspring, until her parents died and her grandmother could no longer afford it.  She then attended Oneno public primary for 5th grade but they charged fees for their exams.

Achungo Founder/Director Michael had been a good friend of Mercy’s father and after hearing of their situation from her grandmother, he brought Mercy to Achungo.   She has been at Achungo for three years now, having started in 6th grade.   She told us that at Achungo she has everything she needs but at home there isn’t always enough money for their needs.  She likes Achungo better than Heartspring – “the teachers are pleasant and supportive and teach well, you can share your feelings and they can help you.”  At Heartspring they were sometimes cruel to her and her friends, for example, making her sweep the floor when she turned her assignment in late.

Her sister now lives with her aunt in Kakamega (about 160 km north).  Mercy says the best day of her life was when her aunt came to visit Achungo with her younger sister on her birthday as a surprise.  Her aunt is like a mother to her.  Mercy goes home to her grandmother on holidays and helps with washing clothes, cooking and washing utensils.   She also likes visiting friends and relatives and sharing stories.

Her favorite things about Achungo are the studies (especially, science and anatomy) and sports (especially volleyball).  She enjoys drawing, reading stories (says she has read most of the books in the library!), and studying with friends, relaxing and playing and sharing with her friends.   She says “ the best thing about being at Achungo is that Achungo fulfills our goals because “Every child is an Achiever” is our motto.”  “After finishing my schooling I would like to be a journalist simply because journalists tell the whole world what’s happening.”