By Kiplang’at Jeremiah
The world’s oldest pupil, Stephen Kimani Maruge, is dead.
Maruge, 89, a symbol of hope for the free primary education programme initiated by the Narc Government in 2003, died yesterday at Chesire Home in Kariobangi North, Nairobi.
The man who demonstrated a rare spirit of resilience enrolled as a pupil at Kapkenduiywa Primary School in Eldoret in 2004.
He was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest pupil and was set to achieve his dream of achieving higher education and be able to read the Bible before the 2007 post-election violence rooted him from Eldoret. World’s oldest pupil Stephen Kimani Maruge
World’s oldest pupil Stephen Kimani Maruge
Yesterday, his colleagues at Chesire Home were shocked by the news of his death.
Ms Donatila Ekuyi said Maruge was a jovial and co-operative old man. She said he lived well with other members in the home for the old and he would be dearly missed.
"We are shocked to lose Maruge," said Ekuyi, a matron at the home.
Maruge’s granddaughter, who had lived with him after being displaced from Eldoret last year, said Maruge, had an ear for everyone even though he was battling stomach cancer, which was diagnosed last year.
"He was ready to listen to everyone. I will dearly miss his advice," she told The Standard on Saturday. Ekuyi said Maruge’s health deteriorated from April when he was operated on at Kenyatta National Hospital.
"He could hardly take solid food. He drank milk, sodas and fruit juices," she said.