Kenya: Emmanuel Barasa, 17, 'My education has been affected'

BUNGOMA, 27 April 2007 (IRIN) - Emmanuel Barasa, 17, is a former primary school pupil from the Mt Elgon district in western Kenya, along the Kenyan-Ugandan border. Barasa, who is now living with relatives in Bungoma, a neighbouring district, spoke to IRIN during a food aid distribution about the effects the fighting has had on his education.

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, the lead humanitarian agency in the district, at least 37 schools have been closed because of insecurity.

"I am a former class seven pupil at Chemses Primary School in Cheptais division, one of the administrative divisions in Mt Elgon district.

"I stopped attending school in January because of the insecurity. It was no longer safe for me to go to school; even the teachers stopped teaching.

"At home the security situation was not any better; if they [those responsible for violent attacks] found you, they would kill you, shoot you or cut you up.

"This caused my whole family of seven to flee our home in Kamata in Cheptais to Mayanja in Bungoma district where they are living with my aunt.

"I am happy that she has let us live with her even though it is difficult sustaining a large family. This is why I have come to collect food from the Red Cross.

"I have missed the whole of the first term of school [from January to the beginning of April].

"My education has been affected because even here at Mayanja I have not managed to enrol in another school; we are hoping the situation back home will improve so that I can go back to my old school.

"If that does not happen I would like to join another school. But even if I go back to school I will probably have to repeat the whole year so that I can catch up with my classmates.

"I pray that one day there will be peace."