Joy, enseignante de français Les Classes Moyennes en Afrique - Kenya / parts 02

, par Joan Bardeletti

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Joy is laughing. And talking a lot also. Most of time, she manages to do the two at the same time !
Fulled with energy, she teaches French in Pumwani secondary school, and one could say she challenges her students. This boarding school, with a 300€ yearly fee host students coming from the whole range of the middle classes.

During childhood, with 7 brothers and sisters at home and a dad being a pastor, there was hardly any spare time : « I grew up working. The familly could not sustain us going to school at the same time, so when one was finished he started to work right away to allow education to the others » .
Gifted, she went to Kenyatta university and got a « Maitrise » of French from the Université de Rouen. Today she is the only one remaining in Kenya with her parents, he brothers and sisters working in the UK, USA or even Australia.

Life is not easy she find : with a 300€ monthly salary as a teacher, she spends more than half of it on a flat rent to host her enlarged family : her 2 daughters and also the 2 kids of her brother that past away some years ago. She therefore has to call for financial assistance from friends in particular circumstances as what happened when she had a very serious accident needing surgery.
Her husband works as a freelance consultant in social issues but is rarely home since he is based in Mobassa, some 12hours drive from Nairobi. His earnings are comparable to hers but can vary a lot depending on assignments.
« I sure feel as being part of the middle class, maybe because I feel this population, as I do, is always working and has little time if money for leisure . I spend it at the Baptist church I am going to every Sunday, or within the French community associations I belong to » .

« My generation is squeezed between modernity and African traditions. I however have no problem with that : it is just life moving on and i feel it good to go from internet exchanges to traditional get together in my parents villages » .
Political involvement is not her main concern since she feels it can sure brings problems with very little hope of really changing things. However, she believes she, as a teacher, has really a political responsibility with kids, especially in avoiding ethnic’s hatreds.

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Walter, Joy’s brother son, run around the house waiting to go to sunday church © Joan Bardeletti
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Parade a the end of a horse race on a sunday afternoon. Coming in cost 2€ and for a few hours rich and middle classes enjoy betting together. © Joan Bardeletti
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Joy during her french class at Pumwani secondary school. Students range from almost poor to rich and can be considered for most of them as part of middle class families © Joan Bardeletti
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In a slum of Nairobi. Middlle class/rich compound habitations get closer from poor slums zones as the city growes fast © Joan Bardeletti