It's rare that I post anything from the news here, but it's also rare for articles from the New York Times to move me to tears.
Joseph Lolo, 16, had worked six days a week since he was 13 grazing and watering the local headmaster's cows. The headmaster, Peter Mzungu, paid the boy $4 a month and gave him Sundays off.
Joseph had watched enviously as the headmaster's children returned from school each day in their crisp uniforms. He longed to attend the public school the headmaster ran. But his family was too poor to pay the fees.
Then last year, Joseph heard that fees had been abolished. Slowly, his resolve to go to school strengthened. This year, he went to his father, a crab trapper, who told him he should keep looking after Mr. Mzungu's cattle. The family needed the extra income. They live in two tiny, falling-down shacks. Only six of Joseph's 13 siblings have survived. Hunger and sickness have plagued the family.
But Joseph said he asked his father, "What will save me if I don't go to school?" Next, Joseph went to the headmaster, quit his job and asked for a spot at the headmaster's school, Kadzuhoni Primary.
A tall strapping boy whose ears stick out from his closely shorn head, Joseph looks like a giant among the Lilliputians in the class of 83 first graders. The floor of the classroom is loose dirt and the children sit on ragged chunks of coral rock that tear holes in their shorts and skirts.
The article: In Africa, Schools Feed A Different Hunger