Thirty-six-year-old Mathew Aol Nyamlori, now a final year student at Kenyatta University, sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) close to a decade, before attaining secondary education.
He wrote the exams nine times.
Growing up, he wanted to be a doctor. His dreams were almost realised in 1998, when he first sat for his KCPE. He scored 478 marks out of a possible 700 while at Kipsimbol Primary School and got an admission letter to Kabianga High School.
The results and the letter of admission were bittersweet for Nyamlori.
He had no hope of joining high school as his parents were not financially stable to further his education.
Although his dreams were going south, Nyamlori was not the one to sit at home brooding day by day.
In 1999 he was back to standard eight at Rongo Primary School, this time with faith that things will eventually get better after the results were out.
He scored 559 marks and got an admission letter to Kanga High School.
But this time, things were a bit better as his aunt gave him a helping hand. But that was short-lived. In his second term, he dropped from Kanga because his aunt could not continue financing his education.
Nyamlori was out of school for two years, before deciding to give education another shot.
Before going back to school, he worked as a casual labourer at a milling factory in Nairobi, but His salary which ranged from Sh200 to Sh250, was his biggest motivation to go back to school for the umpteenth time.
“I had to drop out of school, because I had no one to sustain me. I started working as a casual labourer but it was not easy for me,” he recalls.
“I had to move from one school to another to avoid humiliation. Also, some teachers thought that because I was older and I had gone through the classes before, I knew everything I needed to know.”
In 2002 he joined Kitere Primary School, where he scored 387 marks. This time things were the same, he received his admission letter to Rapogi High School but no one was willing to finance his education.
It was back to standard 8.
In 2003, he enrolled at Sony Sugar Primary scoring 399 marks and was called to Rapogi School, in 2004 he was in Rangwe junior academy scoring 434 marks and was admitted to Maseno High school from where he dropped in the second term.
In 2008, he was a candidate at Agoro Primary School and scored 397 marks that earned him a pace in Maranda High School.
From Aldo Rebby academy in 2009, he got 401 marks and was admitted to Kapsabet High.
In 2010 in Agape academy Kosele he scored 401 marks and was re-admitted to Maranda high.
Due to the nasty experiences, his dreams of being a doctor were crushed and so he opted to read public policy at the university.
“All this happened because of my poor background. I did not have anyone to help me go to school”
But as they say, every storm is followed by a rainbow.
In 2011, from Oriri Primary Nyamlori scored 403 marks and got his admission letter to Nairobi School.
But this time there was light at the end of the tunnel. Luckily, he says, Equity Bank through the Wings to fly scholarship program, sponsored his secondary education.
This time he was 29 years old.
”Being the eldest student, had its challenges. In fact, I was older than most teachers. It was a bit uncomfortable but I did not let that bother me. I chose to focus on myself and what took me to school”
That excitement of finally joining high school was almost short-lived in 2013, when his mother lost her sight which affected his school performance but he kept moving.
In 2015, he sat for his KCSE in and scored a B-plus of 71 points.
After completion of KCSE, his sponsorship was over but he was admitted to Kenyatta University where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration.
“I have been getting Sh45,000 from the government sponsorship per year which has been helping me a lot with my upkeep. I also do online writing and some part-time job that help with my daily upkeep”
Nyamlori who is set to graduate in July finds motivation in gospel music and is hopeful for a brighter future that will entail helping the needy.
”I always believe that God has a purpose for me. Throughout my years in school, gospel artistes inspired me. I believe that one day I will help the needy… orphans and widows. I would never wish for anyone to go through what I went through”.
Although his experience affected his social life, he is looking forward to having a family and giving his children the best education.
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