Doctor's plight, child-centred plays dominate fete

Buru Buru Girls Secondary student during the drama festivals at Dagoretti High School.

Who Cares For The Doctor? That was the big question on day Five of the ongoing Kenya National Drama and Film Festival in Embu County.

The Eldoret National Polytechnic in their play directed by Paul Kisali depicted a sorry state of affairs  in our public hospitals where medical personnel try their level best to deal with humongous public health and medical challenges facing Kenyans.

Yet, the pay is paltry and has subjected them to paupers amidst high consumer prices that have made it difficult for the medic's household to make ends meet.

The concern is that not only do medical schools pick the crème de la crème of students from secondary school, but doctors take nearly seven years as opposed to four years compared to other professions.

When finally employed and posted to public hospitals that are only physical structures devoid of essential medicines and other facilities, they put in over 16 hours a day making do with whatever resources at their disposal.

“A mere carpenter is taking his wife to Zanzibar on holiday yet you a whole doctor can’t even take your wife and children to the animal orphanage in Nairobi,” taunts an agitated wife (Eve Maiyo) of a doctor Benard (Patrick Simiyu).

Dr Benard’s plight is shared with Dr Rosalina (Nyamal Gatkuoth) and nurses Sarah Aker, Sharon Wendy, Catherine Sumba, Christine Anthea, Angela Matete and Beatrice Atwani. Not to mention the guard Stanley Lumbasi and father of Dr Benard.

The play received a standing ovation as the characters put their best voices and lived the script making ita consummate story produced with carefully selected music for effect.

“I am happy with the rendition because we have put in many hours including day and night and our story has been told in solidarity with the plight of our medics in Kenya today,” said Mr Kisali a veteran director a a medic himself.

Ngi’ya Girls High School from Siaya had a true child-centered play on school discipline titled "Spare The Rod and Spoil The Child" scripted by Elisha Otieno and directed by Barnabas Onyango.

The play depicts a disruption of ethos in the schools as new Form Ones (FRESHERS) report to school. A ring leader Vera who has had a poor upbringing believes she can get anything she wants.

She incites under duress, the classmates and the entire school including the School Student President to revolt against long skirts won by St Mary’s School students she deems old fashioned.

The principal, a nun, is pushed into some compromised a not too short not long skirts uniform but then Vera is punished for disruptions and incitement that included false witness against the Deputy Principal in charge of discipline.

Themes on early childhood pregnancies were tackled by a play from Vokoli Girls from Western depicting a student who is put in the family way by a tutor on Coding during school holidays.

As the girl and the male tutor are left alone in the house, the latter takes advantage of her and she gets pregnant.

Yet the school administration is considerate and allows the girl back after delivery. She goes ahead to win the national Science and Engineering Fair winning a scholarship to study up to the University level.

St George’s Girls Secondary School braved the early morning staging a compelling story of a student going through depression in the play The Lesser Evil.

The character’s plight is caused by too much expectation upon her by a demanding curriculum that leaves no room for play and rest.

The 8.4.4 System is removed and replaced with the competency-based curriculum offering a sigh of relief and unleashing great creativity and innovation.

Alliance High School’s play The Moon of Dreams depicts a young boy, Nagasaki, who dreams of becoming a ship captain, but challenges arise.

The main challenge is lack of tuition fees. He tried to escape before, but he didn't succeed. His dream is thus crushed and unrealizable.

This leads him away from school and he ends up working at a career owned by the school principal to get money for his expenses.

His classmates, led by his close friend, Kristof, try to make his dream come true. They do this by planning to put on a play at the “Moon of Dreams” theater.

The profit made from the coin is intended to pay Nagasaki's school fees. This is made possible by the fact that Kristof's father owns this theater and is an excellent director.

At the end of the play, they receive a lot of money which helps Nagasaki. They finally manage to save their friend, Nagasaki and his dream of becoming a ship captain is brought back to life.

By Brian Ngugi 40 mins ago
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