Our parents were supposed to choose a high school for us.
With my father dead and mother remarried in another village, I had my grandmother, who was uneducated and didn’t know much about school. She depended on me for most information.
I had started writing letters for her since the fifth grade. She respected what I wrote and got responses from what we sent. She had a special way of dictating her letters. She would call me into her room and explain everything to me in our local language, Kono. She would not allow me to take notes.
I managed to memorize all she would say — my first letter was understood and there was a positive response. I feared my English may not have been anything to write home about, but my spelling was great.
She was boastful about me in the market or in cars on her way to see her family for food. Grade 7 brought out the good, bad and ugly in me.
We were given the documents needed to be filled out for our choices of high schools all over the country. The forms were distributed to everyone in the class, except for me. My exam and school fees were yet to be paid.
My grandmother was away, but she was still grappling with how we would pay my school and exams fees, and keep me in school. We were given a month to pay all that we owed. Life was critical at this point.
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