By Joe Ombuor
Students at a secondary school in Siaya County were recently treated to a hilarious moment during lunch hour.
Vincent Otieno Odette, 30, a Form Three student at Mirando Secondary School, clutched a plate ready for a serving of food after patiently waiting for his turn in the queue when his wife informed him that he did not qualify for a meal because she had not completed paying his school fees.
“But let me just serve you. I will do the explanation later,” she said doling out steaming food into his plate.
“Thank you,” replied Odette with a wry smile.
Laventa Odette, 26, has paid school fees for her husband since she landed the job as a cook in 2009 and convinced him to abandon fishing and go back to school ‘for a brighter future’.
“I knew he was bright the moment I married him in 2002 and that he deserved much more than his Standard Eight education which was all that he had. He had scored 466 marks (out of a possible 500) in his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams. He had been offered a place at the prestigious St Mary’s School, Yala in 2001 but lacked school fees,” says Laventa.
The couple met when Laventa was selling mandazi at Misori Beach where Odette was a fisherman.
Laventa says their joint income was too meagre to spare for secondary school fees and they consistently prayed over it.
“Then this job came along and I decided to bite the bullet and pay fees for him, even as we struggled to make ends meet with three children to take care of,” says Laventa.
On his part, Odette says he is deeply grateful to his wife for pulling him from the abyss after he lost hope of furthering his education.
Tears of gratitude
“She has promised to see me through to college so long as she remains in employment,” he says, tears of gratitude welling up in his eyes.
Then sadly, he adds: “It is not easy for her because she also has to take care of the children who are also in school.”