“I took a photo of me and my camera so I will always remember.” Ten girls turned photographer for 72 hours. The girls are boarders at Esinoni Primary School in Kenya from Monday to Saturday. Each girl was given a camera with clear instructions—show us a day in the life, the way you want people to see it.
“This is me at the school dormitory on Saturday. I’m taking mid-morning tea.” Maria perches on her dorm bed. She had a friend take her photo, to show where she lives during the week. At 11 years old and in Grade 6, she is the youngest of her classmates to take part in the photography workshop. She’s also one of the most eager.
Students huddle outside of class. Esinoni only recently became a boarding school. Teachers realized students didn’t have time to study at home because they were so overloaded with household chores. So the older students (Grade 6 to 8) now board at the school, which gives more time for collaboration and learning.
“Mary is very good at math. She comes to me when she can’t understand a science problem.” Maria photographs Mary—a friend and neighbour from back home, who earned BFF status at boarding school. Maria took this photo before classes finished on Friday. The next day, they both went home for the weekend.
“My mother is my role model. She has taught me about having respect for my elders and how to behave in school and at home.” Ann’s mom is a teacher at the school. She’s pictured here, doing laundry on the weekend. The female teachers are role models for the girls, whether or not they are called mom.
Mrs. Josephine, the Grade 2 teacher, collects vegetables from the school garden. This is the solution to a glaring problem that arose when the school administration decided to board the older students at school—how to feed everyone? With the help of WE, the teachers and students created the school garden to provide healthy meals for students and teachers.
“Whenever she is home I ask her a lot of questions about high school, because I want to go to high school after I finish primary school.” Maria’s older sister is her role model. She’s in high school, but she still helps at home. Here, she prepares to take the donkey to get water from a river, which will be used on their home farm.
“Women milk the cows at home, so my mothers take turns. We have many cows, so we have a lot of milk. We use the milk for tea and we also drink it.” In Maasai culture it is not uncommon to have more than one wife—the entire family helps care for the homestead and roles are divided amongst family members.
“It looked beautiful. That is why I took the photo.” Charity photographs her farm in the twilight. Soon her dad will bring in the cows, which her mom milks twice a day. Her parents sell the milk to help pay for Charity’s school necessities—like her uniform and school supplies.
“This is my grandmother and cousin in our kitchen garden at home.” Good greens are growing in more than just the school garden. Caren’s mom recently started her own kitchen garden to harvest kale and save the money she would normally spend at the market. Her grandmother lives with them and is key to the farm’s success.