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A boy they called a witch.

In 2008 I met a boy about 15 years old who was a maid in Kisii. He was very quiet, shy and did not look happy at all.

After a few days I tried to talk to him. He did not say much so I got even more curious. Especially because it is not normal for a boy to work as a maid. Normally he would take care of the cows or work in the fields.


I started to ask my friends about him and found out that he was considered an outcust by his parents because they thought he was a night runner. Its long time ago when we believed in witches in the western but in a society where most people don't own a TV and the majority do not have formal education storytelling becomes entertainment and the witchcraft belief is easily passed from one generation to the other.


He lived at my friends mum because his parents did not want him. Here he was allowed to help where he could.

I saw the boy very shy, under stimulated and in need of a helping hand. That is why I decided to pay for his schooling at a local private school. The boy was very happy when we told him so and had a good day buying schoolbooks and uniform for him.


The following year I returned to Kenya to find out that he did not go to school. Instead he worked here and there in order to make money for some food and to help with the bills at his cousin place where he was now living. It turned out that his mother had taken him out of school and used the money I had paid for his little brother instead.


The younger brother definitely needed schooling as well but the one I chose was the one I thought needed it most. Both academicwise and socially.


We discussed it a lot because I wanted to find a lasting solution which made sure that this child got schooling and the social help he needed.


The solution was to send him to boarding school where he could live there and not have to listen to the rumours about him being a witch. In boarding school he would get food three times a day and have the time to do sports and concentrate with school work.


Today he is still shy and he struggles to pass the exams. The many years in and out of school has left its mark. But you can feel that he is much active.


The boy is not one of Jambo Shules children because he is related to one of the members of the selection committee in Kisii and they are not allowed to choose one of their own.