Engineering student drops out of varsity to dig trenches
6 months ago, 14 June 00:11
William Tsuma, 23, has been out of university for a year for lack of school fees.
It is the latest setback for the student, who, at 15 years, resorted to doing menial jobs for a year to raise some money to enable him rejoin high school.
A sudden illness on the day he was to join university would not kill his determination for a better life either. But now he is worried that he could have run out of luck.
Tsuma dropped out of Technical University of Mombasa (TUM), where he was studying civil engineering in May, last year.
He joined TUM in July 2016, but his sponsor, an MP who had pledged to be paying the Sh70,000 fee every term only did that for his first year. Tsuma was sent home in his second year of study.
Tsuma had hoped to approach the politician after last year's elections, which the latter had lost, but did not. “It was a terrible blow, as my candle of hope suddenly went off. So I threw myself into the world to survive,” he said of the politician's decision to end his sponsorship.
The student, who scored A- in the 2013's KCSE examination has turned to menial jobs to fend for himself.
The last born in a family of 11 says his parents cannot afford his college fees. His unemployed father is disabled and therefore unable to take up some jobs, while his mother relies on subsistence farming to fend for the family.
Tsuma’s brothers all work in the matatu industry and live from hand to mouth. "None of my siblings got to high school. I almost followed the trend when, in my second year, my parents could not afford my school fees and I dropped out," he says.
When The Standard met Tsuma, he was working at a road construction site in Mombasa. He wore a blue overall with patterns different from his colleagues'. Below his white safety helmet, a sweat dropped as the mattock hit the hard ground.
Here, Tsuma finds home, at least for today. Tomorrow, he will have to sieve through pieces of paper, knocking every office with the hope of finding another home.
He always dreamed of being here, but in a different capacity. He hoped to be steering the construction course and not the heavy pick-axe under the scorching sun of Mombasa. All he has is a bundle of certificates and awards.
His command of English is good, and his eyes shine with hope, as he opens up about his life. He recounts his determination to get a good education.
In 2009, he joined Jaribuni Secondary School in Kilifi, but dropped out for lack of fees in second year. He was at home in 2010 and resorted to doing menial jobs at 15 years to raise some funds.
In 2011 he joined Ribe Boys High School, where he sat the KCSE examinations in 2013.
When the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) selected him to study Actuarial Science ...
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