Tin shacks line up the winding, dark alleys to a makeshift structure that is St Catherine Bombolulu Primary School in Kibera, Nairobi.
We jump over a waterlogged entrance into a small dingy open room with a section of the walls falling apart, which we are informed was initially the school’s kitchen before it was turned into a charcoal dealer’s kiosk.
Our guide leads us through a narrow gate to a path that leads to the school.
Right at the foot of the gate is a classroom, with approximately 15 pupils. The classroom is a cube and the teacher can barely move around.
There are no more than five lockers which the pupils share.
It was one O’clock and the pupils were huddled together clutching on to their tins of githeri.
In the next class we find more pupils craning their necks to catch a glimpse of strangers milling around the school.
The school had become a centre of attraction after Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha visited and ordered immediate closure and demolition.
The pupils did not know what to make of their circumstances. They were relieved that at least someone had noticed the danger they have been courting in search of education and a better future. Will their teachers move with them? Will they fit in the new school? Will their parents afford to keep them in the new school?
We moved around the school and got to the kitchen, though we couldn’t enter as the door was locked. Next was another class full of pupils, with the ceiling made of plywood covered with black polythene. We could hear movements above us, and soon realised this was a death trap.
The structures are poorly constructed and pupils have to endure noise from other classes.
The staff room has two desks facing each other and a cupboard maybe to keep chalk and textbooks.
There were two teachers when we visited.
The school has no playground, let alone an assembly point.
The structure has a rusty metal staircase and below it are two toilets shared by pupils and teachers.
Up the wobbly stairs is a class labelled Grade Four although we found Grade Five pupils.
We went past two more classes and got to another staircase made of wood leading to the daycare. We found a baby being fed on porridge.
When we inquired how the pupils navigate the wobbly staircase we were told they are accustomed to them. This structure has electricity wires hanging dangerously at the entrance of classes.
The closure of Precious Talent School, where a classroom collapsed and claimed lives of 8 pupils, may have just been the saving grace for St Catherine Primary School and more that are death traps for innocent pupils and teachers.
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