Moja Tu

Meet Erick Mutuku

Going with the Flow

When the year started, Erick, like the rest of us, had grand plans. At the top of his list was to complete his bachelor’s degree in Education and graduate from Kenyatta University later in the year.

Upon graduation, I will be qualified to teach. My areas of specialty are Geography and Christian Religious Education. Since I will be working closely with students, I decided that a counseling course would help me be a better, well-rounded teacher,” he says.

COVID-19 struck just as Eric was about to sit for his first round of end-of-semester exams, ultimately throwing a wrench into his plans. As learning institutions shut down across the globe, Erick retreated to Dream Children’s Home, where he has been living for the last few years.

When I completed form four, I got a B- but my parents were unable to pay for my higher education. So, I moved to a town near Dream Children’s Home where I worked as a night guard. Since I was free during the day, I asked mum Rachel – the director of Dream Children’s Home – if I could volunteer at the home and she agreed,” Eric tells us.

It was at Dream that Erick’s hopes of pursuing his education were reignited and fulfilled. A year after volunteering, Erick met the Moja Tu team, who were immediately taken in by his maturity, wisdom and passion for learning. It also helped that he was volunteering at the home, which boosted his esteem even more.

Kathy agreed to enroll me into the Moja Tu program and I applied at Kenyatta for a course in education, which I am still pursuing,” he shares.

After the schools’ closures due to the pandemic, Erick put what he had learned in class into practice. Since March, he has spent most of his time organizing and teaching classes at the children’s home. The candidate classes – class 8 and form four – have benefitted the most as they have been able to stay on top of their studies and prepared for the KCPEs and KCSEs.

When the phased reopening of schools kicked off, I got positive feedback from the teachers regarding our students thanks to the classes we held during the quarantine period,” he says.

In October this year, Erick and his classmates were abruptly called back to university classes. At the top of the agenda? Exams. Needless to say, things were moving fast and furious, and to make matters worse, Erick was recovering from COVID-19 symptoms that had weighed him down.

I also had to self-isolate at school and that made me very lonely. Be that as it may be, I didn’t want to endanger the lives of other students and so I took it upon myself to protect them by staying quarantined,” Erick asserts.

Erick determinedly took everything in stride, including the exams. Though the symptoms have worn off and he is back on his feet, he says he wouldn’t want a reinfection and is therefore strictly abiding by the school’s protocols to avert the spread of the virus.

My university has put in place preventive measures such as hand washing points everywhere, making masks mandatory and ensuring social distancing in classes. However, at the end of the day, personal responsibility is what matters,” he shares.

Lily Ronoh