Maxwell Otieno was born on June 8, 2002. He began attending the pre-primary class at CGA in January 2009. Maxwell lives with his young widowed mother and two siblings. He is the oldest of three children. His follower, Brenda also attends CGA. Maxwell’s father was a fisher man who died in December 2006. He had not built a house on his land before he died, so the family was living at a nearby fishing village in a one room iron sheet house. The mother remained there with the children selling fish. CGA encouraged her to return to her husband’s land and build a house, so the family could stay in a better environment. Due to some cultural beliefs, she was not allowed to build a house for herself on the land. It then forced her to leave the beach and live in a rented one room house in a small community compound for one year so that her children could come to school from a child friendly environment. In January 2010 she moved back to her home and after fulfilling the customs she had her house built. Maxwell’s new house is divided in three rooms. The floor and the walls are made of mud. The roof is made of coagulated iron sheets. There is no water or electricity, so they go to the lake for washing, bathing and fetching water for cooking and drinking. They cook with firewood or charcoal and use a parafin lantern for light. Maxwell sleeps in his grandmother’s house since they are sharing the compound. He sleeps on a mat and covers himself with an old blanket. He has no mosquito net and thus he is frequently sick with malaria. Their house is not far from the road, and Maxwell walks a little over two miles to school each day. The mother continues to sell fish at the beach to earn some income for feeding the family. Maxwell is a strong boy and will do well at CGA.
2018 Update: Maxwell completed primary school in the fall of 2017 and scored high enough on his national exams to attend secondary school. He received an invitation to attend Our Lady of Mercy Ringa Boys High School, which is a boys boarding school about a two hours drive from Mbita. He started Form 1 at this school in January 2018.