Today, I want to tell you about Lucy.
Lucy is a young lady whom we met several years ago…. must have been about 2007…. She comes from a VERY poor family of around eight people, who all live in a very small mud hut. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this family has next to nothing!
We first heard about Lucy in early 2007, just a few months after she took her exams for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education. (This is an exam that every 8th grader in Kenya takes. There is incredible pressure to do well, as your entire educational future depends solely on the score you get on this exam. If you don’t do well, you will have to settle for a sub-standard high school or not go to high school at all. If you do semi-well, you will be accepted into a mid-range school. If you do really well, you will be invited to go to a top rated high school.) As it turned out, Lucy scored number one in her district! This is a huge honor and is printed in the national newspapers, etc. It’s hard to explain to somebody who has never dealt with the Kenyan educational system, just what a big deal this was for Lucy!
As a reward for their accomplishments, the Kenyan government gives a full-ride high school scholarship to the number one KCPE scorer of each district in the country. This meant that Lucy was suddenly invited to attend high school (free of charge) at one of the best schools in the country, which happened to be located in the capital city of Nairobi.
At the time, we didn’t live far from Lucy and her family. We didn’t know them well, but it was very obvious that they were extremely poor. When we heard that Lucy was number one, we asked a friend of ours if she was going to be able to take advantage of her reward of attending a top school. He sent her to talk to us and we found out that there was no way her family would be able to afford to buy her a bus ticket to Nairobi. She also couldn’t afford a uniform and shoes (she had never owned a pair of shoes in her life). We told her that since her school fees (the main expense) would be paid by the government, we would commit to the incidentals of shoes, school supplies, personal effects (toothpaste, feminine products, etc) and bus fare. Lucy couldn’t wipe the smile off her face! She was so grateful!
That gratefulness continued over the next four years! At the beginning of each term, she would show up at our house and let us know how school was going. Jeff would buy her a bus ticket to get back to school after each term and a new pair of shoes at the beginning of each year. She continued to do well in school and never asked us for anything beyond what we had committed to… this is a very big deal, by the way! We probably spent about $100 per year to keep her in one of the best schools in the country!
We hadn’t heard from Lucy for almost a year, which wasn’t a surprise since her high school years had come to an end last November. A few weeks ago, Jeff got a call from her. She wanted to know if she could talk to us, so we met her in Kitale.
I’m telling you, I would not have recognized her! Not because she looked much different, but because she has become such a confident, well spoken, charming young lady! Gone is the young girl who was so shy she couldn’t bring herself to make eye contact when spoken to! This new (grown up) Lucy knows what she wants and knows that, if given the opportunity, she can accomplish anything! She was very articulate, yet unassuming, as she showed us her acceptance papers into NURSING SCHOOL!
This is an incredible opportunity for this young lady and her family! Education is the ticket out of poverty, but most poverty stricken people never get an opportunity to obtain a good education. Lucy has worked hard! She has given it her all! She has been determined to work her way out of the one room, mud hut she grew up in! She is an amazing young lady who now has an excellent high school education, but is, for the time being, back in the mud hut waiting to see if God will open a door out.
I’m sure you’ve figured out why I am telling you about this young girl who isn’t one of our In Step kids. I’m hoping and praying that one of you will feel led to help Lucy in her quest to break the chain of poverty in her family! We don’t usually get involved in situations like this… everyone has their problems… everyone needs help… many are living in poverty generation after generation. But this girl has proven herself! She has not been willing to just accept her situation…. just accept that she will be in poverty all her life! Even more impressive to me is that she has been willing to take the bull by the horns and go for it! You don’t see that very often in the desperation of extreme poverty!
After Lucy showed us her acceptance papers and expressed to us her deep desire to become a nurse, we promised to look for a sponsor so she can continue her education. We did not promise her that we would find one. We simply promised to put the need out there… which is what I’m doing with this blog. If you would like to help Lucy, please message or email me! We are willing to handle the money, pay the school directly, track her progress, etc.
The papers show school fees of about $1000 per year, but we have learned from experience that there are always hidden costs! One day last week, Jeff saw a group of nursing students who are doing their internships in Kitale, walking down the street toward the hospital. He pulled over and asked if he could talk to them. He asked them about the costs of living, books, etc. As close as we can figure, the total cost for Lucy to attend nursing school would be about $2400 per year. It is a four year course (3 ½ years in class and six months of internship). She is supposed to report to school the beginning of March, 2012.
I’m not sure how this is all going to end up! I’m just getting the word out there! Maybe you want to pledge a certain amount toward her first year (please don’t send the money until I let you know that enough pledges have come in to cover the entire year). Maybe you alone are able to cover the first year of this young girl’s college education! Maybe you are willing to pray for God’s provision! Whatever you are willing to do, thanks!
I don’t plan on normally using this blog for fund raising purposes. But Lucy is an incredible young woman who has impressed us greatly over the past five years. It would thrill us to death to see her have the opportunity to pursue her dreams and break the chain of poverty in her family!
Thanks, everybody! GIGATT!