In February, Fred transported his son Milvinady Ajo to attend his first year as a Form 1 boarding student at Vonunu National Secondary School (VNSS) in his home island of Vella La Vella.
Like many schools in the country VNSS has had to struggle through the years to keep afloat, often weighing the pros and cons on which project or academic department should be invested in, amidst school fee instability and dependence on Government grants.
The constant juggling of institutional obligation has seen the neglect of a number of school facilities.
Having heard the complaint about his son’s boarding house, Fred was inclined to investigate the reported condition, upon which his heart sank at the sight and the knowledge that a child of his would have to endure a whole year of education in such conditions.
Making up his mind he made a quick visit to the school Principal Mr Lawrence Zaza and somewhere in the discussion that followed, Mr Vivijoro said “let me fix the dormitory.”
Zaza later said “I was taken aback by the offer, especially for a need that was very much over due.”
Offered existing building materials already amassed by the school over the months, Vivijoro took on the responsibility of acquiring remaining materials, transportation and labor salaries.
Initial stages of the project had a slow start assessing building damages, financial cost and logistic viability done during late May, work began early June and just over a month later the building had been completely renovated and handed over to the school free of charge.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fred successfully ran a boat service business called ‘Danga Transport Service’, and though a modest sized business in comparison, his simplistic lifestyle allowed him to save a decent earning, setting aside enough to keep his business afloat and stable enough during the pandemic.
The renovation of the dormitory on his own was not a decision he had taken lightly taking into consideration the possibilities he was faced with.
In the end a father’s love for his son had won the argument of the day, and for a school it was the first ever assistance of its kind to be received from a single person, let alone a father.
On Friday the 19th of June, the keys to the dormitory were finally handed to the school principal in a ceremony held at the school.
The gesture of a single father had set precedence for families and friends of Vonunu National Secondary School.
In his speech Lawrence Zaza declared the newly renovated dormitory renamed ‘Danga Boys Dorm’.
Vonunu National Secondary School is regarded as the ‘Mother School’ being the first established secondary school in Vella La Vella, laying the foundation and producing a multitude of high skilled and educated leaders in the country.
By TERENCE ZIRU