Jacqueline is a 14-year-old student in Kenya. Both her parents died of AIDS. Photo: Alex Stonehill
Jackline is a 14-year-old student in Kenya. Both her parents died of AIDS. Photo: Alex Stonehill

Interview by ALEX STONEHILL

Name: Jackline Mathoni, 14

Home: Mahiga (a small town in central Kenya)

Languages: Kikuyu, Kiswahili, English

Family: She lives with her grandparents — her parents died from AIDS.

Favorite foods:
Nyama choma (traditional Kenyan roasted meat) Favorite subject in school: Mathematics

What she wants to be when she grows up: An airline hostess (she wants to travel)

More info: Jackline attends a school for orphans. The students eat most of their meals at the school, even on the weekends, because their surviving guardians often can’t afford to feed them. Despite the challenges the students have faced, their school is consistently one of the highest ranked for academics in the region.

Advice for American kids: “Study hard so you can achieve your dreams.”

Learn a Little Kikuyu!

Hello: Níatia
Friend: Múrata
Dog: Ngui
Elephant: Njogu
I love you: Ní ngwende te!

Kenya Quick Facts

Population: 37.9 million • Capital and largest city: Nairobi • Official languages: Swahili (since 1963), English • Motto: “Harambee” (Swahili), meaning “Let us all pull together” • President: Mwai Kibaki • Poverty: 50% of the people live below the poverty line • History: Obtained independence from the United Kingdom in 1963