Emusoi Center aims to empower pastoralist girls by helping them gain access to secondary and post-secondary education. Some of our students run away from home in order to avoid early marriage, often helped by their mothers or some relative who understands the value of education. Mariamu was one of these girls. She came to Emusoi and joined the pre-secondary course and then secondary school, finishing at the end of 2014. But she never went home during this time because he father wanted to marry her off. Mariamu will join cookery school in January and she has been helping out at the Center.
However, her usual bubbly spirit seemed a bit dampened recently and she expressed the desire to go home to see her mother and father and siblings. She asked herself are they even alive since she had had no communication from them. She asked one of our staff to accompany her because she was afraid to go by herself.
Mariamu was accompanied by Teika, our Program Officer. They left early in the morning and reached the village after a 3-hour trip. Mariamu’s mother ran to the car and embraced her daughter; both of them crying. But her father was another story. When he saw Mariamu, he said, “who are you?”. He did not recognize her. Mariamu said, Baba (Father), it is me, Mariamu. He looked at her and said, “My daughter is dead. How can you be Mariamu?”
Teika intervened and said let’s sit and talk. She began talking with him, with the traditional greetings, telling him who her father and grandfather are, where she was born and how she works at Emusoi. Slowly, she told him that Mariamu had been in school this whole time and she will continue to study. Mariamu’s father was impressed with Teika because she knew his language and the customs and the proper etiquette. He said to leave him alone for awhile and he began to weep because his daughter whom he thought was dead had returned.
After awhile, he called Mariamu and they talked. The family is very poor and they had nothing to offer the guests, but their neighbors brought tea for them to drink. Teika told the family that Mariamu would return to Emusoi and she will go to school next year. He father accepted this and called all the guests in front of him so he could give Mariamu a blessing along with Teika and our driver and even the car! A beautiful reconciliation had taken place as this “prodigal” daughter had now returned home.
Sr Mary Vertucci