It is Monday mid-morning at Ogenya, in Nyando, Kisumu County.
Barnabas Odhong’ is making rounds in the village, peeping through every home as he drops random greetings.
Mr Odhong’ is the Assistant Chief of Ogenya Sub Location in Nyando.
The water levels in this school was above knee height, and things seems to be getting back to normalBarnabas Odhong’
This is one of the areas which were adversely affected by flooding following the swelling of Lake Victoria waters.
Even though the level of the waters is going down, and some displaced villagers returning home, the schools have permanently moved.
In his area, Ogenya Primary School is one of the schools moved about five kilometres away from its original location.
When Lake Region Bulletin visited the area, the former Ogenya Primary School was still standing on what looked like a swamp.
“The water levels in this school was above knee height, and things seems to be getting back to normal,” says Odhong’ as we go round the now abandoned school.
The large compound has had its fence damaged, and the entire field now being used as a cattle grazing field.
But this is not Odhong’s biggest headache.
“Our biggest worry now is that the young children from this village are not able to go to school because the new location is so far away,” he says.
According to Odhong, some of the homes are now as far as six kilometres from the nearest school.
This forces parents to wake up in the morning, and take the young children to school before coming back to begin their daily chores.
“This is an agricultural area, and parents have to get to the farms very early in the morning, and sometimes do not get time to take the children to school,” says Odhong’
But in order to save the situation, Mr Odhong’ does impromptu rounds in the village just to ensure that all the children within the school going age are in school.
But if we can get an ECD Centre around here, we would be relieved greatly, or else the enrollment in the pre-primary may be affectedMary Auma
“I sometimes feel for the parents, and that is why we are having a discussion to build a community Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre here to save the small children,” he says.
As we move around the village, we meet a Ms Mary Auma.
“I have just dropped my Grade One girl to school. It is an obligation,” she says.
Her older children are in upper classes, hence get to school earlier, and cannot tag along the small one.
“But if we can get an ECD Centre around here, we would be relieved greatly, or else the enrollment in the pre-primary may be affected,” she says.
In the neighbouring Ombaka Location, Chief Jacob Ong’udi is doing the same.
In his area, Ombaka Secondary School was moved to a new location, about four kilometres away.
Just like Odhong’, Mr Ong’udi has to make rounds in the village to ensure that school going children are in school.
As opposed to Ogenya, Ombaka Secondary School did not lose children.
However, the school’s new location is smaller, and not able to accommodate all the infrastructural requirements for the school.
“We are in discussions with the surrounding community, with the aim of acquiring some more land. We hope we will get back to our normal lives soon,” said school head Motachi Momanyi.
He says the school has since received substantial amount of money from the Ministry of Education and the area Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) for its reconstruction.
Nyamasao Primary School lost almost 100 learners following the impacts of the flooding.
The school which has acted as a rescue centre during floods, for the first time had its field flooded, and could only hold a few families in its classrooms.
The rest of the families had to move to other places, a situation which saw the pupil population affected.
The distance to Odienya was so much for the children, and in the meantime we are having them back to the original school as we wait for the new locationBen Ogilo
“While some families live in rental houses near market centres, some relocated completely to other areas,” said a teacher at the school.
In the neighbouring Kabonyo, learners from Oseth Primary School have returned to their school after two years.
The learners had been putting up in tents in the neighbouring Odienya Primary School after their school was submerged.
Disagreement over the new location for the school has been the biggest hindrance to getting the children a better place conducive for studies.
“Due to the delay in the construction, the children had to go back to the original school,” said Ben Ogilo, a parent.
The government had acquired funds for the relocation of the school after experts advised that the soil structure of the original location cannot hold the buildings recommended in the project.
“The distance to Odienya was so much for the children, and in the meantime we are having them back to the original school as we wait for the new location,” added Ogilo.