Being first born is the most challenging thing for students who come from a humble background. It comes more of a hell when the head of the family is illiterate who neither believes in education nor sees education as the solution to poverty, disease and ignorance. Do you think that a family that eats what they get instead of getting what to eat can have all minds settled to learn? It only takes a quixotic mind to even reach high school level. This is what I am going through but have never obligate me but instead, it has been an inspiration that keeps me going.
This will sound like a melodrama. When I began my schooling, it was never difficult because of the free primary school offered by the Kenyan government, which is absolutely free from politicians’ mouth but we had to pay some fees. My father, being illiterate, was not willing to pay any single cent up to the point I was to be admitted to high school. He cantankerously refused to take me to a boarding school and preferred a local school which was a year old. I could not bear all that as a child. This made me to dislike my father and develop a bad attitude towards him. I was thinking of what my friends would say. Those that I had perform better than then were joining highly ranked schools. And I had adamantly refused to attend that school if I just had to study there. I believed I knew what is good for me.
Thanks to my mother who I believe is an iron lady. My father never allowed her to start any small business but she did not stop despite numerous occasions of conflicts. Believing in God, she had faith that I must go to school of my choice. After struggling and getting some admission requirements, of which most of them was borrowed. In fact, my uniform was given to me by an alumnus from that school I wanted to join. How would you feel seeing you fellow colleagues in new school uniform while yours are old? Awkward I guess. Out of ksh50000 plus fees for my first year I high school, my mother only had 2000 Kenyan shillings with her with no hopes of getting more any soon. That is a drop into an ocean. The principal just looked at us and understood that we needed help. She gave me ksh200 for my pocket money and told me to remember what brought me to school.
It was a week to exams and I had not updated my notes. Everybody was ahead of me and they seemed to know more than I could even imagine. I had a friend, Erick, who was a total orphan and nobody knew how he was paying his fees. He was so determined that his determinations made him get full scholarship to Russia. With his help, I was able to become one of the top students out of over two hundred students. In that result, one subject did not please me at all. Mathematics. I hated mathematics with passion. Little did I know it will be part of me.
Life is a competition at every point. In fact, I am writing this to prove that I am worth the scholarship, basically I am competing for the fund. I wanted to be the top student and therefore, I had to compete with other top students. Others had a good support from parents and other were like me. Having known that I was poor in mathematics, they could strive to get the highest points in the subjects. This became an inspiration and I had to put more efforts. I learnt that the secret of passing mathematics was believing you can even do better than Pythagoras himself. If I could rank myself to Pythagoras, who was my fellow student to beat me in mathematics? That was a turning point and after a lot of practice I was a giant.
Even though I going well in my studies, I still had to pay fees. I was sent away for school fees several times. Of which I could spend more than a month only to come back with ksh4000. Having spent a long duration at home, updating my notes was a problem. My teachers never understood me but rather quoted me lazy and rude. Others even told me that I was being proud because I was the top student. Little did they know what I was going through. But what I learnt that was encouraging me and a source of inspiration was this phrase; “Just smile Steve”. Sometimes I used to sit in a lonely place just thinking of my life quagmire. And whenever tears tries to roll down my cheeks, I could tell myself, “just smile Steve”. When other students were being visited with more than two bags of shopping and I was there just wishing, I could tell myself, “just smile Steve”. This was and still is my inspirational phrase in campus. I used to keep my hair short, not because I was clean, but I had realized that short hair saves soap. When you are bathing you do not have to use a lot of it.
My final year was here, I had to clear all my fees to get registered for the national examination. Had to go back home to get the money. Here is the probability question, if I could take a month to get ksh4000 how long could I have taken to clear a balance of over 40000 Kenyan shillings? If you do your mathematics well it is ten months. That meant that I could not register for the examination. I had to either go back home and wait for the following year or repeat a class. That hit me so had that “just smile Steve” could not help. Fortunately, the school principal payed for my examination fees and told me not to mind about the fee balance. He told me I would have money beyond my imaginations. He was such an inspiration since I was just learning under his mercy and of God.
I would like to make this a short as I can. My inspiration in life can be written to a book. I passed and I joined University of Eldoret taking a degree in Computer Science. Life have not been easy because I have to find extra money by all legal means to add to higher education loan that I get. And this is why I had to try my luck maybe you can find it in your heart to help me pursue my dreams. My biggest inspiration is to prove to my father that education can move mountains. Please do not misjudge my attitude towards my father will this document. I love him but I hate his personalities at some point.
That is my inspiration in life. Thank you.