Ashley (14) told us her story: “I came to Achungo 10 years ago, having heard about it one evening when I was walking down the road to the village center to beg for food. I met Michael Nyangi Ojala, Achungo Director, who brought me to the school and enrolled me. I was 4 years old and had never been to school. I was living with my 85-year-old grandmother who was unable to pay the fees for me to go to school. We lived in a thatch-roofed hut that leaked every time it rained. During rainy seasons, she would give me her rubber boots to put on because I was not able to walk inside the house with the deep mud. She would walk barefoot and sometimes the thorns for our firewood would cut her open legs.
My grandmother told me that my father died in a traffic accident during the time of my mother’s pregnancy and then she died during delivery. Then, their subsistence garden was stolen by strangers from another region. I have no siblings but my grandmother is my only family.
When I came to Achungo I knew it was different from anything I had ever heard of. I love Achungo with all my heart and, even though my parents are no longer here, at Achungo, they treat me like family. Mark, Monte and Paul are some of my best friends from California. [She wrote this during our visit]
With my friends, I like studying math and science, drawing, and playing soccer. I want to become a pilot when I am through with my schooling. Glory be to God. I wish you a happy life and a happy family!