A young life transformed in northern Uganda
Micah Lokoropee in his classroom
Micah Lokoropee is from Ngongosowon, in northern Uganda. He is 9 years old, third born in his family. His father, Nalukia, is 70 years old, a prominent and respected old man in the village. Micah is also blind.
In Pokot culture, in the case of a blind or a lame child, is believed that the mother did not observe some taboos during pregnancy. And such a child is often considered a curse to the family, fit to be killed as a sacrifice to appease the gods.
At home Micah had no clothes to wear, nor bathing soap, and during raids he was often left behind when people run away for safety or leave in search of water. (Villages are sometimes raided as neighboring peoples search for water.) The other children were given preference when it comes to clothing and food after all the others said, “He cannot see!”
Micah, though, is the first boy with whom Church World Service partner organization Yang’at has been impressed during its many field trips: Micah was always there once he got information that Yang’at was visiting the village. During one of the CWS monitoring trips to the village, the boy was so impressed with CWS volunteer intern Micah McCoy that he even asked his family to henceforth call him Micah.
Micah has never missed any of community trainings from Yang’at and also participated in collecting stones for the construction of the sand dam, supported by CWS and Yang’at, which now provides access to water even during the dry season. Micah knows the importance of having water near their village because he doesn’t want to be left behind when the enemies strike or while the family has moved away in search of water.
Because disabilities are at best neglected in the community, Yang’at conferred with the family and decided to take Micah to St. Francis School for the Blind in the West Pokot district in Kenya. The relationship with the school is being facilitated by Yang’at field officer Elizabeth Pkukat.
Micah Lokoropee is a very charming, talkative and entertaining boy. As he puts it, “The sand dam has made me to be recognized.”
Since he began studying at St. Francis School, Micah has seen tremendous social change in his life, and he has made a great difference in his home village. At school he has become fluent in Kiswahili (Kenya’s national language, which is also used in parts of Uganda), as well as in Braille.
When visitors come to this village of Ngongosowon, Micah Lokoropee is always there to help in language translation between Kiswahili to Pokot, his mother tongue. This is usually during school holidays. During one recent holiday vacation, census officials from the district headquarters of Northern Uganda came to Ngongosowon to conduct research. Because the locals there could not understand English, the officials used Kiswahili, which again was a problem for the locals. But, Micah Lokoropee was there and accomplished the translating very easily, surprising the officials.
Micah is also now a good singer, and he is taking good ideas and new songs to his home village. One song he has become famous in his village for is “Ngolionto Tororot topeyowo,” meaning “the word of God is the light of my footsteps.”
When school begins, Micah is strict in punctuality. Unlike former times when his parents used to delay him at home, now his father is the one who helps him get back to school for the first day of school opening. Micah’s parents have seen the importance of school through this small hardworking boy. Micah, his parents and entire community of Ngongosowon village have now proved that disability is not inability.
Always eager for learning, Micah is now a light and a role model for the entire community of Ngongosowon. He is very ambitious and often speaks of reaching university in his education.
Micah Lokoropee says, “I want to reach Nairobi during my education and show my people that blindness or any other disability is not a curse to prevent anyone from prosperity.” He ends with a broad smile “God bless CWS and Yang’at for making me what I am now!”
Read more examples | Back to top