Kenya: Reprieve for Teacher Who Trekked 20km Daily As Narok Upgrades Roads

The Narok County government has started repairing the dilapidated Murkan-Sosiana road three months after the Nation highlighted the plight of a principal, who walked a long distance daily to deliver examination papers to her students.

The headteacher walked because the road was inaccessible to vehicles and motorcycles.

Narok, through its department of Roads, Public Works and Transport is also improving the Juction-Bogoria road, the main route Sosiana High School.

Earthmovers have already cleared the Murkan-Sosiana road up to Sosiana High School gate and the principal, as well as residents, can now travel safely on motorcycles or vehicles.

Sub-county officials did not want to comment on the road project, but a signpost for Juction-Bogoria road indicated that the project is being financed by Roads Maintenance Levy Fund courtesy of Narok County government.

The principal, Mrs Magdalene Kimani, braved a 20-kilometre round-trip to deliver exams to her 18 candidates in Trans Mara East, Narok County.

It is estimated that Mrs Kimani walked a distance of more than 320 kilometres, an equivalent to trekking from Nairobi to Bungoma town, by the time KCSE exams were over.

Every weekday, she made a 20-kilometre round-trip on foot to and from school to deliver exams to her candidates.

Seeking to "walk in her shoes", Nation accompanied her during one of her trips. It revealed what hundreds, if not thousands, of rural teachers are going through just to ensure candidates sit their exams.

With two police officers in tow, Mrs Kimani endured the morning chill and trudged through the muddy Murkan-Sosiana road that is full of bushes and boulders. She crossed the seasonal river Kibailuk and finally scaled up a hilly topography where the school is situated, 10 kilometres from Murkan centre.

Her story infuriated some officials from the Ministry of Education to an extent of asking her to record a statement.

Teachers unions condemned the harassment by education officials saying they ought to have lauded the teacher for her sacrifice, noting that her case is only a miniature of the challenges tutors undergo in the country.

In a rare show of unity, Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) united to defend the principal whose only crime was telling of her plight.

But the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) later came to her rescue and recognised her efforts.

TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said that they will reward the teachers as well as those others who perform exemplary well.

"You may have read in the papers about the case of one incredible teacher in Narok County, who walks long distances daily, we celebrate such teachers," said Ms Macharia during the release of the 2020 KCPE in Nairobi.

Though TSC is yet to recognise the teacher in a special way, residents there say she is their hero.

Her plight was a blessing to them and for many years to come, they will enjoy the fruits of her bravery and willingness to grant a media interview and subsequent victimisation by a section of people mandated to ensure her welfare for better performance.

"We will forever be grateful to Mrs Kimani. It is because of her that we have these roads repaired today," said Mr Amos Cheruiyot, a resident.

Ms Grace Chemutai said they are now using boda bodas to move to and from Sosiana, something that was not possible three months ago.

"We pray that the project is completed soon and done up to standards," she said.

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