Kenya glossary














November 1996



Section 1
Madam Lydia, could you please tell us where you were born?
I was born in Chepkoea village, Kaptalelia sub-location.


Is it Kaptalelia sub-location, which was previously known as Kongit?

Which year were you born?
I was born in 1972.

Please tell us how life has been since you were born and where you schooled and how you've lived up to this time.
Hmmm… from my birth in 1972, it was 6 years until 1978, before I went to school. I didn't go to a nursery school.


You skipped it?
I skipped it and went to class one in September 1978. However, I didn't enrol for the first and second terms

Class one?
Yes, I only learnt during third term in class one when I did the exams. I was number one thus I was promoted to class two where I was also number one. I was number four in class three and in second and third forms, I was number one once more. I was number one from class three to six. I have never let go of that number.

You must have been very clever.
Hmm...after class seven, we were now the pioneers of 8.4.4.

While in class seven, I encountered problems because I joined the old guys who surrendered (refused) to go to form one but [opted] to repeat class eight. By then, class seven was a big class and these big men were highly competitive, until I was number three in the first and second terms. While in the third term, I was number two before joining class eight.
Section 2
Why did you repeat class seven?
I didn't repeat! I'm saying that only class three gave me a problem, where I was number four. From class one up to class six, number four was my worst number. I was then confirmed to go ahead and join class seven whereby I met several repeaters.

Okay, repeaters.
Yes, those who feared to join form one.

I was number three.

Was it because of competition?
Yea! In class seven first term, I was number three and my colleague whom I went with to class seven from class six was number eleven who was the second to me from class six.

Yes, class six?
Yes, class seven. I was number three during the second term and number two in third term. Then I went to class eight. We were now the first 8.4.4 system. I was number three again during my first term in class eight and 003 was my index number. In the final exams, I was number two with fifty-five points and we were supposed to join form one. The first school I joined, I was number two. The person who led in class eight had 58 points but he had repeated class seven four times. I was then number one overall because the person who also came with me to class seven had 50 points. So it was like I was the first one in our school because the other person who had 58 points was a repeater who had given up from secondary school and decided to come back to class seven.

What was the name of your primary school?
It was called Chepkoea primary.

When we stayed for some time after exams and that was the first 8.4.4. system. During my first form, I schooled at Lugulu.

Lugulu Girls?

During my first form, I was number three and then during second term, I had a school fees problem and the person who paid for my fees was my brother who was a doctor. But during that time he was an U.T. (untrained teacher). Since Lugulu was a high cost school, we had a fee problems.
Section 3
I was number four in both second and third terms and I went to form two where we still had a fee problem. Nevertheless, I was number four even after being absent. I was number fourteen in second term but due to lack of school fees and this forced me to transfer.

From Lugulu?
Yes...I transferred from Lugulu to a school in Lodwar sides.

Lokitang was the name of the school.

Since I didn't do the exams in my form two third term, I had to repeat form two.

I repeated form two in Lokitang and I was number one the whole of form two.

I was number one in second term and I lead in the final exams in our school although our school standard was very low.

This is so because our teachers are far even if teachers were posted, they would almost take one month before reporting to school plus transportation problem. So the school education standard dropped. Although I was number one with 54 points, thus a C-, I did not perform well.

But I was the first one in school.

How did you feel on the first day you went to secondary school?
I thought it was paradise because firstly, my first school was taken as the most important in the whole province. Lugulu Girls.

Oh! Lugulu Girls?
I didn't imagine being in such a school and it took me almost a month to believe it. I was always overjoyed when the lights were switched on.

This really encouraged me to work harder had it not been for the school fees problem. My aim was not just to reach form four, I had focused ahead but we had finance problems.

Because of this, I had to shift from Lugulu girls to go to Lokitang because in the course of being a UT, my brother was suddenly enrolled to a medical college and I had no one left to pay my fees.
Section 4
Then, my sister Mary who could assist me was in college and this forced me to stay at home during third term. So I decided to persevere and during the first term, my mum sought financial help from people and I was now schooling in Lodwar, which was cheaper and after the third term, my sister was out of college.

It was in March that my sister finished college. She took up the responsibility of paying my fees but again another financial problem during second and third term. I t was during third term that she got arrears from her college that she completed the debts I owed the school in form two. I then joined form three.

If you compare the standard of education in Lugulu and the other school you transferred to what are your observations?
Surely, the level of education in Lugulu was good.

This is because teachers were serious and even students... competition was very high and a minute could not be wasted without a book. If you had to waste time, you could find yourself being number 15 and we were 120 in form one. We had four streams and each stream had thirty students. During exams, the four streams could be combined and everybody was working harder because you waste time at your own risk. When I joined the school in Lokitang we were only forty students and I was very bright, so I didn't bother much.

Better off, you say [unclear]?
I could read when I chose to because I was comfortable with what I was doing. Even if one beat me in one subject, he/she couldn't beat me in the rest of the subjects. But I don't remember a time when someone beat me in any subject at Lugulu. I also read hard but there was tough competition from the other streams.

Were the teachers not strict in the school you transferred to?
They weren't strict with learning because a teacher could only be strict when she is absent, but the moment he leaves to get his pay in Lodwar, it would take him/her a month before coming. Even if he/she is strict, how much has he/she lost. So much was lost and this encouraged the students to laze around with education and not be serious. Although in Lokitang, students were more bright than in Lugulu... the reason behind it I don't know, maybe Turkanas are naturally very clever even if one is not taught he/she will pass.

How did you do after your form four?
After my fourth form, I stayed at home in 1990. Therefore I completed my forth form in 1990. Because I repeated form two and in 1991, I got married during December holidays. In 1992, I got my first born. His name is Brian.

How did you feel when you got your first born?
I was very happy although I was not so happy since the father of my child was not there. When I was pregnant, he joined the forces and during the delivery, he was still in college. He finished college when the child was two months old. Together with my sister Mary, we went to visit him in Moi barracks. After the delivery of Brian in October 1992, I stayed until 1993, then I took up a course in Kitale.
Section 5
I took a course in accounts at KATC in Kitale.

Oh yes.
That was 1993 March up to July, from there I went for a teaching interview.

After the interview I was so lucky and later called to join college.

Yes...So you went to college and after completing [the course], you are now a teacher?
Yes, I went to college in Machakos.

I was in college for two years i.e. 1994 and 1995 September when I finished college. I was then posted in another school next to my home that I had schooled in, but I turned down to offer. I didn't want to teach in a school where I schooled and I was then posted in Kaptaleia primary school.

When you got married, did you miss your people at home or feel some loneliness?
Yeah! I was lonely because, I didn't tell my sister Mary whom I was staying with of my eloping. My husband came to pay us a visit and Mary knew him as my friend. She was teaching in a far away school and she gave me some money to purchase some vegetables and prepare the meals.

She said she was going to Kapenguria hospital as she was feeling sick, and later I could make her a phone call because she could also go to school. The money she had given me for making a phone call to her, I kept it under the cushions and my husband and I left and this was our marriage…Hee-hee. Although I could not believe that I had got married since I had planned to just accompany him.

I was always feeling guilty for not telling Mary the truth.

Whenever that came to my mind, I would shed tears.

I was always feeling guilty even when I was five months pregnant with my first born. Nevertheless, I was happy because Mary hadn't wronged me but I still had a guilty conscious. I would think about my mother, sisters and brothers and especially Mary because she was like a parent to me.
Section 6
Did you like your teaching at the beginning or did you find any problems?
Is it in college or at school?

The first school you were posted?
I didn't get any problem when teaching in school unlike in college where we could go for teaching practice. I was feeling so bad especially the first teaching practice because we were being assessed.

If one was assessed by a bad assessor, he could give you a bad recommendation.

Yes, the worst recommendation and this would make you angry and this made me hate teaching practice. I did really like them but if you got a good assessor, you'll also enjoy your teaching and these assessors are our own tutors.

You can teach freely, when you know your assessor is good. But if he's a murderer, he will murder you and you can't like your teaching. During my first teaching practices, I was assessed by four tutors and three of them weren't good. This made me hate teaching. But during my second teaching practice, I was assessed by good tutors who encouraged me to teach. During my final teaching practice, I was assessed by only two since you were supposed to be assessed by two and the final assessor. If the final assessor was absent, you could be the luckiest. But I generally liked teaching because if pupils liked you, they do not harass you and you'll also like your work. For, example, if your head and pupils hate [you], including staff members, you'll not enjoy your teaching.

Yes...From your own observation, what problems are the teachers experiencing in Mount Elgon?
Firstly and generally, it's transportation problem that we have.

Yea! How one will travel to school.
Yes...It's also because it rains so much making the roads impassable. Even if you wake up early, you'll be rained on and by the time you reach school, you are muddy all over probably you have fallen on your way so you get late and as well as muddied all over. Surprisingly, a student can even be more clean because with bare feet, they can walk on grass and avoid mud.

The first problem is transportation, secondly a frequent downpour. We are always rained on when going to school, however near the school is, either in the morning or in the evening.

When you're coming from school.

We don't have many other problems apart from transportation.
Section 7
That's all.

Could the pupils be giving you problems?
We are normally disturbed by candidates.


This is so because they are adolescents. The pupils feel that even if someone annoys them, they can go and get married. This year, candidates have given us problems because they can go ahead and marry in case one disturbs them or even if they are chased away. They are very sure of sitting for their registered exams and marry afterwards. Once pupils have registered for exams, they are not kind any more.

Have you experienced high drop out in school?
Our school?

Those who frequently drop out are girls.

Yes, this is due to pregnancy.

Last year, we had candidates...or do you want a general view.

Generally in the school even including candidates.
Last year, we had four candidates dropping out and among them three girls and one boy

Were the girls pregnant?
Two of the girls were expecting unlike the one girl and the boy who married.

We had four cases of which were candidates.

Despite the fact that they were married, they finally came back to sit for their exams.

The exam? Could there be some other causes for drop-outs?
Yeah! Some of the causes are drinking.

Do they drink beer?
They do drink and smoke cigarette and bhang (cannabis). But I know that they mostly take traditional beer called busaa but especially the illicit brew called chang'aa.
Section 8
The pupils are always sober during the morning, but when they come back after lunch, they are drunk. We have discovered this because this is the time they act rude and that they can not be commanded to sit down.

He stands still and stares at you in order to embarrass you in front of others

A pupil then comes when he has either taken beer or smoked.

There's too much drinking and smoking.

What have the teachers done to help these kind of pupils, like taking them back to school or leave their deviant behaviour?
We have a teacher’s committee in our school.

Is it for guidance and counselling?
Yes...we have five teachers constituting three men and two women that form a committee of guiding and counselling. They were chosen because they are experienced as they have served long in school, as they knew the children better.

Whenever we see a problem arising.

We had a problem of too much smoking and drinking last week and the teacher’s committee discussed what to do. Since the pupils were not candidates, we could not expel them, as they will not be saving anything as they are preparing for their forth-coming exams.

They opted to guide and counsel them instead.

Guiding and counselling them took a whole day although they joined them with other candidates. These teachers agreed that in order to reduce indiscipline - too much drinking and smoking - in the school, they would not admit the victims during the following year. They had even begun locking teachers inside the classroom.

Sure, so that you could not get to class.
They did so and claimed that they could not get what the teacher was teaching. They don't understand because they are always drunk in the afternoon and when one is drunk, definitely they do not understand.

Because of too much drinking and smoking, they blame the teachers as being bad.
Section 9
Do you have any women organisations like Maendeleo ya Wanawake or even merry-go-rounds (rotating credit schemes) here in Mount Elgon?
Women’s development?

Yes, or those small groups you form and help one another in buying sometimes?
We also have Maendeleo ya Wanawake in our district, divisional level, locational and even sub-locational level.

In fact at the divisional level, I’m the secretary.

The secretary?

Oh my!

Tell us more about what happens.
Let’s put aside merry-go-rounds and start with…

Maendeleo ya Wanawake?
Concerning women’s development, we normally have meetings to decide on when we would like to be visited by certain ministry or when we need some help.

We always discuss what we should do, in case they say that they want women groups from such a division. Not everybody can be a member because we have a registration fee, which is Kshs.500 for women groups. We also have agreed to contribute a certain amount of money to purchase a maize mill.

A maize mill?
Yeah! For the women in the division, since this organisation is very young, as it was only formed last year, we had agreed that everybody would pay Kshs.1000 as it continued to get stronger. The Kshs.1000 contribution was to start from the sub-location then to the locational level and finally to the division. We could then present the whole of this money to the district and then decide whether to buy a maize mill or any machine or anything that would generate money for our future benefit.


Have you already benefited from something else or is this what you want to do when you commence?
We have just begun with the women groups but we've had benefits from the merry-go–round.
Section 10
Okay, even merry-go-rounds?
Okay, we've benefited from the merry-go-round. The problem with this women’s group is that it accommodates many people from different areas, as far as Kaptama and Kopsiro. This has made our meetings be so irregular like once after so many months.

No! No! That's why the women group is dragging, but in the case of the merry-go-rounds, we have bought for one another so many things like iron sheets, mattresses, bedside boards and plots. We normally buy goats whenever one is visited and given money then the next priority is given to household equipment.

Even if you want to buy a bed or a mattress, a goat is given first priority so that in the near future the goat will bring forth its young ones and other benefits.


Have you been doing this activity or will you do it when you start off?
Like what?

The merry-go-rounds...
We have already bought all the things I have mentioned above and we have managed to visit each other and everyone…

All mothers have got different problems and we've managed to visit them.

According to me, all the houses have been equipped with household equipment.

Including plates, cupboards, tables, chairs, sideboards, beds, mattresses and a goat of which three-quarters already have.

Since we were through with household needs, we agreed to give each one of us money to purchase a plot.

But for those who married where there's a big piece of land, we are to buy them a plot or iron sheets.

That's during the next round since we are through with domestic needs.

Now we want to work outside the house and already some people have bought iron sheets after we visited them.
Section 11

We have heard so many people making comments that Mount Elgon is underdeveloped, as a teacher what do you think are the causes?
I have observed that one of the causes is tribalism.

One tribe?
You also know the consequences of sowing the same tree each planting time and if one just decides to sit in a house without visiting the neighbouring houses.

Would you be able to know what improvements are going on in the house?

No! No!
You can't see...

Since we are one of the same tribe, the moment you see the type of table I have bought....

You also want the same type of table and you will never see a person who owns a vehicle due to lack of intervention (intermingling?).

From other districts.

You can get some rich people who actually look forward. If only we could get [to know] people from different ethnic groups.

Because, most of those from different ethnic group are advanced and we could be imitating what they do, the problem we have is that we are the same ethnic group.

The competition rate here is very low.

You can't compete very fast because you know your neighbours have what you have.
Section 12
If he has cattle and a table, I also have. But if we were mixed with different ethnic groups, we could see someone who has planted crops on a ten acre piece of land, another one who has a motorcycle, or a bicycle, and we also could get encouraged to purchase them. We are not developed because we are of the same ethnic group.

Another problem we have is drinking and smoking which has made most of the children not go to school.

Many people are now beginning to understand what advancement means.

At first when we were still in Bungoma district…

We were not provided with any employment.

Whenever one would go seeking for employment, you could be turned down.

The following day you struggled to get employment, but all was in vain...we still had unemployment.

Most of my age mates, although some are older than I am…

Most of them have been unemployed, and it was only until recently, when we were given a district, that they were employed.

If we could be operating still under Bungoma District most of us would not even be teachers.

This is so because we use to be controlled from a very high far place of which you could get not even a single benefit and yet you were considered a member of it.

That also contributed to our backwardness. We had potential politicians but they were pinned down. We are very much thankful now because we have a district after five years of demand and we shall never be underdeveloped any more.
Section 13
Are people now comfortable after being given a district?
Very comfortable and they are.... That is why before... you see now before we get our district…

Yeah! Moi School…

Yes it was a mixed school.

Although it was a secondary school, it could not accommodate more than thirty students.

A school like Kapsokwony did not look like a secondary school. But since we got a district, district schools became provincial schools.

The speed of development was increasing with the population of students in schools. Divisional schools now became district schools, while the district schools became provincial schools.

Schools developed as the number of students enrolled increased. More people are employed and now you can get civil servant, doctors, teachers, and every ministry employs people.

Okay. What about youth groups?
The one we have in this area.

We have one youth group and we still have women group and a merry-go-round.

We have Kaptalelia youth group, composed of fifty members and each member has to pay five hundred shillings...

Is it a registration fee?
It’s a registration fee per member and we have been promised that there's going to be a fundraising both at the sub-location and location level.

We are also going to have fundraising at the district level and another one will be organised by the president.

There's going to be a harambee (joint self-help initiative) fundraising in December for youth and women groups.
Section 14
Since women's group fundraising is usually done at the divisional level. It's not very clear on when it will be conducted. I know the youth group is very active as it is at the grassroots-sub location level. Its centre is just here at the market. In fact the chairman, secretary and treasurer are all staying at the market place. We selected some of the women group members from the grassroots but all has been fruitless. Unlike youth groups who have constructed the road.

They are the ones who were digging and making the roads?
They are the ones who have constructed the road from down those sides up to this market.

Are they also planning to do something else apart from the road construction?
After registering as members, the money they had collected on the twenty fifth of September was to be used to buy a cow with the help of money from the fundraising.

A cow?
To buy different breeds like Friesian, Jersey and give it to one of the members.

The person given the cow to look after is also assessed by his ability to have napier grass, enough grazing space for zero grazing. You look after the animal until it gave a calf. You pass the cow over to the next partner while retaining the calf.

It’s passed all round and your benefit is the calf, as getting a calf nowadays is a problem

The grade calves?
Getting a calf from the exotic breeds is very difficult. The reason as to why the women groups have failed is that they had began planting some crops in their own farm but after some time they left the entire farm and it produces to the officials (chairlady, secretary and treasurer) to be the beneficiaries, despite the fact that they also contributed towards the purchasing of the farm.

All I know is that the women group is not very active but all the same, we have formed another one for fifteen members.

We have not yet opened an account like the youth groups. The registration fee had decreased because the members complained of belonging to different groups. We had just given a name to this group when the ActionAid people...We mature a loan and the officials of the ActionAid group declared that they don’t give loans to individuals.
Section 15
In order to get a loan, we decided to form the fifteen group and the loan was to be 150 thousand.

We are going to be given that loan towards the end of this month, although most of us have not yet paid the five hundred shillings for registration.

However, most of the members would like the registration fee to be three hundred because they are also your members. We are going to have a meeting to decide how much it will be for registration. We have planned to purchase maize with the loans to be given at twenty shillings a two-kilogram.

So that we store the maize up to next year around June and sell them at sixty shillings per two-kilogram.

After selling, we shall have enough money to repay the loan and we shall also benefit, because we shall sell the maize at thrice the buying price. After repaying the loan, we shall remain with twice as much and purchase beans so as to sell it later we shall still benefit from both sides.

Yes. What role has NGOs like ActionAid done in Mount Elgon?
They have provided us with piped water for Kaptalelia Primary School.

They have provided it in the three areas here in Mount Elgon.

They have also assisted the youth groups in the road construction. For example, they provided them with a wheelbarrow and something for scooping sand.

A spade?
Yea! With a big hammer (mallet) for breaking stones.

They have given us so many things and now they have assisted us in road construction.

They have provided us with water and they keep checking on those who can't afford their basic needs.

In their own homes, they hold seminars where parents are taught how best to handle those children that are considered sick.
Section 16
You cannot handle a disabled or physically incapable child just like other normal children. Therefore parents are normally taught how to educate, clothe and feed their children.

The ActionAid people sponsor some of these children.

They help those children who come from poor families.

What role has the government played in Mount Elgon so far?
The government?

The government has played a great role in the building of schools.

Secondly, it has provided employment.

After giving out the district, they helped us in building schools seriously. This is the first thing they have done.

The government then employed so many people and we do not have unemployment now.

I doubt.

So, are their job opportunities ready?
Yes, there are job opportunities but the people…

To be employed are nowhere to be seen.

There are job opportunities and you can go to the Ministry of Agriculture and there's a chance.
Yes most of us like teaching and being policemen/women.

After all we have all the ministries and there are vacancies in medicine and agriculture.

Right now not even a single ministry is full because very few people had been enlightened with education and also very few have been able to finish schooling.
Section 17
Those who have finished have been pleaded with in order to accept and be employed. There reached a time when one could not go for interviews but straight away recruited.

Now that it’s a remote area, you are just picked up and employed.


Are there job opportunities for women?
Do you mean married women?

Hmm…all women or ladies?
There are job opportunities even including teaching and medical.

This includes other ministries. There are secretaries in the D.O., D.E.O.'s offices and some even work in banks.

There's freedom of choosing where to work. There are no chances kept for men only.

Once you are ready to work and you've got a certificate, there's an equal distribution of jobs.

You can't take a whole year looking for a job.

They will help you.

Okay. Why do unqualified and working people like migrating from Mount Elgon?
Are you talking of transfer?

Yes. Or may be someone schooled here and she has eventually gone to stay and work in another place?
They do so because they are seeking interaction.

I don't see the reason as to why one wants to move away apart from getting a transfer to another place.
Section 18
I can also decide to transfer to Kitale because the town here is still young.

There are some people who were brought up in the towns.

Kapsokwony is a very small town as compared to other towns and he/she decides to transfer to Kitale, Bungoma or anywhere else. The problem is lack of interaction.

People want to interact with others and more so if the town is still very young. I also feel that I should go to Kitale municipality. Transport is another problem.

Okay. Have you had any working class emigrant in Mount Elgon?
Yeah! The very natives are the ones that come in.

An example is my sister. Many who now want to come home and some more people wish to come back.

People who left this place will always come back home after a long stay.

I will come back to my home district after a long time.

He now wants to start thorough farming.

He could also come to purchase land in his/her home district at its advantageous to do so.

Someone comes back home to purchase a farm as he/she has saved much.

Some of us even decide to go to town because when you are at home like here, you cannot save money.

This is so because a relative will need money, a neighbour or people will want help, to people to go away and after some long silence, your money will be enough to purchase land somewhere and settle.

This is why most of those who went did it but they don't stay for more than five years.
Section 19
Those who were coming back now went some three years ago to accumulate enough money for planting crops in a farm.

Whenever these people come back, they don't target the town as their residence but to purchase a piece of land or put up a house. In case of a teacher, she will teach at the nearest school.

What role has the church played in Mount Elgon?
I think the role of churches has been to unite people and created employment.

This is so because they have some churches that pay their pastors and the youth who finished school and joined pastorhood.

Joining pastorhood means being employed and employment is given to those workers at the church.

An example is the Catholic Church that employs people like those who build. The church has also built schools.

The church has helped to create employment, unite people, build schools and sponsor children who are needy. It has also helped in constructing roads.

It also helps.
Yes...It helps in construction of roads in conjunction with the government. There has been this union of the four roads that were constructed. Therefore, the church is uniting, employing, building schools and construction of roads and then employment.

What impact did the introduction of churches have on people's culture?
Yeah! It partially did because it made people hate the church because it abolished some of the people's practices like the throwing [away] of twins, which we had been doing.

The church was now against the throwing [away] of twins.

People thought that the church was ending its culture.

They were now against the church.

Circumcision was now another issue.
Section 20
The church said that circumcising girls is unhealthy.

People thought that the church was forcing them not to practice their culture. The church was also against people worshipping in caves.

Our ancestors? Worshipping our ancestors?
Yes, you know we used to build shrines and they are still being put up in some places here in Mount Elgon.

The church is against worshipping in caves, building shrines and so the worship of many gods.

The church was against it... so people felt that the coming of the church…

The coming of the church was seen as an agent of destroying their culture.

Yes. Did the people stop or refuse going to church?
Most of them refused, but the church was good because it educated children and parents took them to church and these are the same parents who are learned now.

Now that the church was the sponsor, many refused to go to school claiming that the church was against girls circumcision, throwing away twins, praying in the caves and worshipping in the built shrines. They felt that what the church advocated for was wrong, very few people went to church.

Why do people in Mount Elgon take their children to school?
The reason for or not for taking children to school?

Why should they send children to school?
They sent children to school so that they can get employment and be good future leaders.

We also need future leaders apart from providing them with employment so that our district advances since we are very much behind.

If we are not going to take more children to school, we are also going to continue being underdeveloped.
Section 21
At the moment, there are very many schools being built so that we are not among the last developed in the country.

There are even schools in the interior where you can find three children in a class or even one per class and a whole school totalling to fourteen pupils.

The whole school?
The whole school because these children are restricted sometimes from going to school so they are begged to go to school.

What are your people's expectations of education?
They expect a learned person to be a good future leader since some of them suffer from rural inferiority.

They assume that once a person is learned, she should be ready to give out what they have to others.

You are expected to socialise with the people by distributing your salary to them. They term you as bad when you are egocentric. You are not actually bad because you need to develop yourself instead of helping them as they expect.

What if one has learned to higher levels of education but they are not employed?
They will laugh at you and they will criticise saying that there is no need of going to school.

They expect anyone who has gone to school even up to class seven and eight level to be employed once one has finished up to that level at least you have gone to school.

You've gone to school?
So long as you know how to read and write, you should be employed.

Okay. Is there any adult Education in Mount Elgon?
Yes, we have adult education in Mount Elgon and the office in which we were yesterday is responsible for that education.

Yeah! The man you saw is the chairman.

Is he the chairman of that place?
The chairman of Adult Education. This education goes on in our school in the afternoon.
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Yes, do they attend classes on a daily basis?
No, they report on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of a week. They can attend classes daily because the school board members are strong.

Yes. What do people see as prosperity?
One is regarded as prosperous when you have got cattle, land to plant crops on, and you have got a very nice house. Somebody who is able to build rental houses and has a vehicle. Before doing anything else, you should have cattle and enough land.

No! Even if you own a car and lack cattle and land, they see nothing in it as property. They also consider education.

Is there any need to improve infrastructure in Mount Elgon?
Like roads?

I mean things like roads, schools and communication means.
Yes, there's need to do so because right now if one gets sick or faints, there is no assistance to offer him or her because of very poor roads and telephone booths which are in poor conditions. Yes, we need to communicate with our people.

Roads should be improved to ease our travel to schools and teach and even reach hospitals early enough.

Schools should be improved so that most of the children are accommodated, and telephones too for communication with our people.

Hospitals should be improved in their design so that the services offered aren't poor.

We feel there is room for improvement in this place.

Okay. Has there been creation of awareness to women in Mount Elgon on family planning?
Almost all mothers have heard of it but most of them despise it because they still believe in giving birth until menopause.

Everybody has heard about it, even those in the interior know about the use of pills and injections. But to them many children mean wealth. Therefore, some say that they will give birth to as many children as possible as she will get at least one who is good.

They are not aware that they are ruining their families.
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Could they be fearing to visit a family planning unit because of the side effects they've heard from some other people?
There are some that fear going because of what their friends have experienced like backaches, chest problems, giving birth to deformed children, and this has scared them off.

They prefer their own traditional family planing and giving birth to as many as possible, but not to indulge in modern family planning.

Okay. Which languages do people speak here in Mount Elgon?
They mostly speak Sabaot language.

Kalenjin is also spoken followed by Kiswahili though it is not heard in the interview.

English comes third after Kalenjin and Kiswahili.

Do people attribute any importance to knowing these three languages?
Its good to know Kiswahili language as it gives an opportunity to listen to national news from a radio and you'll be able to know what's happening in places like Nyeri, Mombassa and other places in the country. English language is equally good as it enables you to know what is happening daily. But if you only know one language you are disadvantaged not to know what's happening in Busia. These languages also help one to interact with others, like Kiswahili enables free communication with one from the coast, English with a tourist who can provide you with employment when they tell you to direct them to a place like a national park and they give you some cash. Therefore a person who knows English or even French is more advantaged.

He has already got an employment by taking him to a national park.

National park.
Yeah! You see it’s very important for communication purposes.

And to know what happens in the various places in the country.

Okay. Do you remember when a radio first came to Mount Elgon?
Yeah but I remember very little.

What I remember is the introduction of the radio-cassette.

I was born after the radios had reached this place.
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Do people see a radio as a source of educative information or just a mere entertaining equipment.
They appreciate it as it enables them to know what's happening in other countries and even how people from different districts like Transzoia live, the development and what's happening.

They come to learn about development matters, like the women development presented in Mombassa on the radio.

It helps in educating people, entertaining during music time when one is bored.

You also learn more about other countries and so a radio is very important to them

A radio is not only for entertainment, it’s for education purposes. Okay. How is education for girls going on in Mount Elgon?
Here in Mount Elgon, girls still receive informal education as it was in the past but this does not apply to all. They get it from grandmothers especially in the evening when they've gone to sleep.

We are normally many of us in the grandmother’s house.

It's the grandmothers’ duty to storytell to us and in the end one could ask us a moral lesson and she would later tell you what the story meant. The moral lessons could be not to be mean and how a woman should stay with her husband

There could be a story, which could teach us how we should stay with our husband and to take care of ourselves from sex.