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Residents of Maduwa Island located in Lake Victoria know what it means to endure a life of hardship. 

Theirs is an isolated community that survives without the barest amenities such as roads and electricity. 

There are no health facilities or vehicles on the island. The daily prayer of locals is not to fall sick.

From Osieko beach, you ride down River Yala through narrow passageways and across Lake Victoria to the island.

The town of Osieko lies on the border of Siaya and Busia counties. Administratively, Maduwa is under Busia County, where the chief also lives.

The only government-run school, Maduwa Primary, has a population of more than 200 pupils and 10 teachers.

Head-teacher James Mwari, who has been at the school for the last two years, said they were “surviving by the grace of God.” “We had a boat and engine but it broke down. It is, therefore, not easy to paddle the boat to the mainland.”

He added that circumstances had forced some of the pupils to become reluctant boarders.

“Even though it is not official, some pupils decided to come with bedding and they turn the classrooms into dormitories at night. They also cook for themselves because their homes are far and they cannot commute,” said the teacher.

Mwari revealed that they were forced to open the school more than two weeks after the official opening date.

Moses Amotto, a teacher at the school, said learning was suspended for one week after teachers fell sick due to a malaria outbreak.

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