SR article

Bernard Ochieng Obura

Bernard Ochieng Obura – 21 years old


Our first interview was with a 21-year-old graduated Bernard OchiengObura. After a small walk into Okana village we were invited to sit down in his house. A small establishment with enough plastic chairs to hold a table and all four of us filled with a couple of school exercise books and notes. Bernard himself sat in the corner. He told us he graduated form 4 last year and is now working at a primary school as a teacher to save up for college money. This explains the numerous schoolbooks lying around, since he was preparing his lessons.

He and his family knew the Pavilions. “I visited it when they were launched”, responds Bernard to our question. “I want to go there to read for school, but I work during the day.” For him visiting the Pavilions would only be possible during night hours, during holidays and in weekends. “I would like to read both English and Kenyan books. I would read them at the Pavilions itself. I wouldn’t mind having to register at the Pavilions to be able to read there.” When it comes to money, Bernard reckons it is no problem to pay for the library, “If it is beneficial, I wouldn’t mind paying for it.” An answer to the question how much he would pay is less simple, “it depends, how much is left. Our income is not stable. I will see how much I make when the Pavilions are finished”.

When it comes to the cybercafé he is aware of this as well. He sees it as a big bonus to the centre. “I would use it for school work or to go on Facebook.”  Also, he was able to give some generalinformation on prices for photocopying and printing. “It depends”, he states, “a copy of an ID both sides costs about 10 bop. For a photocopy of a text, you generally pay 3 bop.”

Bernard was also able to give us some information on the school uniforms, since part of the income of the Pavilions will be the sewing workshop. “A school uniform is mandatory. I was helped by a Kenyan organization to pay for mine. The costs depend on the tailor and if you buy it new or second hand. A standard trouser is about 600 bop. You buy a shirt for 400 and your badge is 50. The sweater is about 700 bop. When there is no money we pass our uniforms on to our siblings.”