Mwaura - Leraar in Kenia
Joseph Mwangi Mwaura is hoofd van een basisschool in Mpeketoni. Zijn school staat in een afgelegen gebied, waar de armoede groot is. Er zijn geen stenen huizen, alle hutten, waarin mensen leven, zijn gemaakt van takken met daartussen gedroogde modder. Inmiddels is er een mooie school gebouwd, waardoor de ontwikkelingsmogelijkheden van de kinderen enorm zijn toegenomen. Mr. Mwaura schreef het volgende verslag.
NONE HAS PERFORMED LIKE THIS MAN – Joseph M. Mwaura
THE WAY I SAW HIM
When I started seeing mr. William dwelling with us in our locality he looked extraordinary as he was the only “mzungu” (white man) in our reach. He was tall with an average magnitude. He was friendly although he could not communicate well with the local people since he could not speak Kiswahili. It was a great problem but he never lost hope. In most cases I could see him either walking or riding a bicycle. This man was neither a Catholic Father, a missionary, nor a very senior person attached to a highly developed company. His mission to such a remote area in a very poor country remained a mystery to me.
THE MYSTERY REVEALED
Some time later this man made a call at Tewa Primary School where I was teaching in those days. Asked what he was here for he said that it was just a courtesy call but his concern was beyond that. Some few days later we saw the mzungu on a tractor full of timbers for desks, chairs and teachers’ tables. We also received several boxes full of textbooks. This made us realize the man as a friend in deed not in need. Thinking that it was only our school in his favour, we later discovered many schools in poor areas had caught his eyes. Some years later the same man made my countryside shine. From the youngest to the oldest had a reason to smile. They were all clothed and provided with household utensils. Whenever I pass the shamba of the Kimani family and see that big container from Holland placed just beside the house I remember that week which was full of laughter and joy. It is a miracle. Who has performed like this man?
A NEW PERSPECTIVE
This white man from ‘s-Gravenzande, a village in Holland, is by no doubt a teacher. He was teaching English at a secondary school in Vlaardingen. The way he is performing by building permanent schools, providing desks, chairs, tables, shelves, cupboards, putting up toilets and providing books is special. Moreover he is bringing family members, sponsors and even students from Holland to Mpeketoni. This man is undoubtedly student orientated. Out of the 30 primary schools in our division this man has built dozens of permanent blocks. Nobody has done more than this There is something unique in his approach. His areas of interest, activities and visits are limited to those which can only be described as hardship areas of poverty. These areas are neglected and totally forgotten. Now the inhabitants of these areas cannot stop jubilating, singing in joy, jumping up and down and calling out his name whenever they see the white man pass by.
FOCUS ON HEALTH
He has managed to build up a magnificent dispensary known as Maria Teresa Nuzzo Health Centre. It is fully equipped and cheap for patients. This clearly portrays his concern to poor people as the centre is in a rural area.. His provision of better education can only be achieved if there are good health services available to all. This man is intelligent. When people are sick and cannot walk to the health centre there is no time that they knock at either his door or he will organize vehicle assistance. He sacrifices his time, vehicle and money for the community regardless of risks he may encounter 24 hours a day. He deserves a credit.
The man is a Christian and attends the Sunday services at the Full Gospel Church which is growing fast. He does not want to see people squeezing on the benches, sweating seriously while others even have to stay outside, because the building is too small. It is his wish to see the congregation under the same roof. This has culminated to building the biggest Full Gospel Church of Kenya. It is a big building which can accommodate at least 1.500 people. The effect of his efforts means: better standards of living through improvements of educational facilities, health care and spiritual welfare. These achievements require a big company with stable financial support and expertise.
The way funds are raised in Holland is exceptional and somebody who is only a teacher cannot do this. Big tycoons, prominent politicians and millionaires have not performed as well as the white man. Most of them have become involved in a pool of corruption and money grabbing. He has proved he can manage human and material resources well.
The man is very social to all, regardless of religious, tribal or political background. He only concentrates on poverty. He interacts with people in all respects. In this way he has taught them and learned from them. He does not discriminate at all and the way he handles his workers should be copied by others.
This is another aspect that is amazing me. I once attended a meeting where mr. William was making a speech before our community leaders, ten Members of Parliament and several Ministers. He addressed them over problems associated with the policy on free primary education in Kenya. He expressed himself clearly, criticizing the government constructively in well-chosen words without showing any disrespect at all. He has no hidden agendas and does not backbite. His openness has made us to know his character, his relatives, friends and sponsors from Holland very well.
If at all William van den Burg will continue staying with us, his projects and his vision towards the poor will continue being supported by the authorities and the people themselves. Then Mpeketoni will look totally different than before he came over from ‘s-Gravenzande. He will go on doing the work in the same spirit as none has done like him ever before.