After breakfast and lunch, on their way back to the classroom blocks, the girls walk past a huge island of vegetation. Orange, purple and coral colored bougainvilleas adorn an enormous section of cacti. Whether it is one or 20 is hard to know since they have been growing together for years. About 15 feet above the ground beautiful white flowers about the size of a child’s hand begin to dot the stovepipe-shaped cactus stalks.

After ringing the bell that releases the students from 6th period, I met up with several of the teachers to discuss the morning’s lessons. Usually our students rush to the dining hall in an attempt to commandeer one of the front spots in the lunch line. One student was not in a rush.

Benedictor is a young lady who grew up in the Nairobi slum of Kibera. She has a quick sense of humor and innate leadership skills. On this day, she had rooted herself right in the middle of our route to the dining hall. Timing is everything and Benedictor timed her question well, waiting just a little longer than most of the semi-nervous students would have, staring up at the cactus, she asked her query.

“Where did the flowers go? They were there this m