1993, Nairobi, Kenya
Plate 17, 18x27
These students were happy, eager and cheerful. They were well dressed and quite well behaved. The school was in a slum area of Kenya, and in talking to this older group, what became quite clear was that all of them wanted to go to school. Partly it was to learn, for they were curious, but also because it was an easier life during the school years-even allowing that the staff at these schools seemed serious and formidable.
As we went along though, something became quite clear. There were almost no jobs available in which a student could use what he or she learned. One young graduate who was an electrician could not get work because there were so few electrical appliances or equipment or electrical lighting, even in the homes. It seemed that when they were laughing and smiling they were also forgetting. There were few smiles during those moments when they realized that the education led to very little improvement in their daily lives. An electrician without electricity, a plumber without water, a bookkeeper without a business - Africa seldom looked at more than a part of its own great picture. Without the larger picture, it was a wheel within a wheel, running in opposing directions.