‘A free massage’. That is how they call the road from Nkoilale to the biggest city in the county: Narok town. Imagine the most rocky road you have ever driven on. Now double the amount of rocks, sand and holes. To make it even worse, it is rain season in Kenya right now. So mud everywhere on the sandy roads. We even got stuck in a mudbad, which is not exactly what you want at 6:30 in the morning. But it was good to go to a city that has access to sanitary and served food. And a supermarket!
Narok was an interesting experience. We went there to interview some important stakeholders for our research. The chief officer of youth (the department that is in charge of the Vocational Training Centre), Jane, was our first interviewee of the day and a welcome addition to our data collection so far. Her job is to manage and finance all the Vocational Training Centres (we do our research about a possible VTC in Nkoilale, a VTC is comparable to MBO in the Netherlands) in the Narok county. She had so much knowledge about where it went wrong with Kenya its educational system: practical skills were taking for granted and academic knowledge was according to many the answer for poverty. Only a few years ago they discovered that academic studies are not for all and that practical skills such as mechanics, carpenters and plumbers are needed as well. Especially in deserted places like Nkoilale, where unlike Narok development of infrastructure, sanitary and houses stood still.
Our research takes us more and more into the community and its needs and wishes. They need an institute that takes the ‘slow learning’ youth of the streets and makes them useful, they wish the youth was not so idle and above all, they want to have growth. We realised in our trip that the community here is ambitious, wants more than the situation they are in now. In the beginning, we discussed whether we should research if the people wanted evolution; culture can stop growth because they want to keep their traditions. They proved us wrong. While speaking to the education officer in Narok, our second interviewee later that day, he told us that in the whole Mara region Nkoilale is the most open. Open for education, social development, a more sustainable and carefree life. In some villages this is not the case. Families keep their children home to take care of the cows. They think education is a waste.
In Nkoilale, every child gets send to at least primary school. The nearest secondary school is not near and expensive. For the ‘slow learners’ with low grades, the opportunity for a scholarship is not there so they become the idle youth. Simply because they cannot go to school to learn and have no skills to find a proper job. For them, a Vocational Training Centre would be the solution.
Reaching the end of our stay here in Nkoilale, and the end of our data collection, we have grown alot to the people here and their passion to make Nkoilale developed. I say we because I know my other team mates feel the same. We were sometimes in doubt whether the VTC would actually be build or not, but with talking to the staff of Ministery of Education our hopes got up. They are pro VTC, but finances are at the moment lacking and that is a problem right now. It might not be easy, it is an even more bumpy than the ride from Nkoilale to Narok, but eventually they will get that VTC. I’m sure of it.
The last few days it has been raining a lot. Now, it is pouring. This morning, while on an amazing first day of safari, the sun was shining though. More on that later. It is almost 18:30, time to make dinner. Only a week before I leave this place, time goes fast….