Getting Tenderfeet Kids from Here to There

Did you know that many of the Tenderfeet students ride the bus for as much as an hour and a half total every day?

Getting to school is fun on the new school bus

Getting to school is fun on the new school bus

It’s a long ride for the children, but they love going to school and are proud to ride their wonderful school bus.

The reason for the long route is rooted in the history of Tenderfeet, and the post-election riots of January 2008.

At that time, the Mama Margaret and about half of its students were forced to relocate from the volitile and dangerous Kibera area to a more peaceful area of Riruta.

For two years, the school operated at two locations — the original one in Kibera and another site in Riruta.

Then, in June of 2010, the new school was opened outside of Riruta and all the students and teachers were reunited in one location.

Bus route from Kibera to the new school

Bus route from Kibera to the new school, satellite image from Google Maps

Bringing the school together at one location was a wonderful blessing, because it is on the outskirts of town with lots of fresh air and open spaces.

But the new location also created a new challenge. Both the Kibera students and the Riruta students would have to be transported back and forth to the school every day. There are over 40 in each group!

The Kibera students would be 45 minutes away from the new school (one way), and the Riruta students would be 20 minutes (one way). Moreover, the bus would have to be parked at Margaret’s compound in Riruta for safety.

Teacher Karen supervises  students on the school van

Teacher Karen supervises students on the old school van, the new school bus is much more roomy

It turns out, that meant it would take a lot of driving to get the kids to and from school!

The bus takes the following route every day: 45 minutes from where the bus is parked to Kibera, then 45 minutes back, then 20 minutes from the school to the Riruta kids, then 20 minutes back to the school. Altogether, it’s a little over 2 hours each way.

Joseph the friendly Tenderfeet busdriver

Joseph the friendly Tenderfeet busdriver

That means the bus is running back and forth for over four hours a day!

With gas in Kenya over $5 per gallon, the costs can add up. ¬†We are very fortunate to have a generous sponsor — the Collette Foundation — that covers the Tenderfeet transportation costs.

Tenderfeet is also fortunate to have a great bus driver named Joseph who has a big heart for kids. In addition, teachers like Karen and Lydiah make sure the kids get on the bus and back home safely.

The children feel proud to ride such an excellent bus. They never complain about the long route, and having the chance to be at such a lovely school is a big contrast with the harsh slum environment they are used to.

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