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He gave up chalk for a stick shift

Wednesday Life
 Japheth Langat drives a caterpillar after he was awarded a certificate in heavy machinery operation at Nyakio Plant Operators and Driving School graduation ceremony in Thika over the weekend. The Bachelor of Education degree holder resigned from his job as a secondary school teacher to learn how to drive a bulldozer driver saying that was where his passion was. (PHOTO: KAMAU MAICHUHIE/ STANDARD)

When Japheth Langat, from Bomet County, tendered his resignation as a secondary school teacher in December 2013, his family was shocked and disappointed.

His decision to leave a job that thousands were angling for was one they could not comprehend especially after it emerged that he intended to train as a heavy machinery driver.

“We could not understand why he had made such a decision but the more we tried to talk to him, the more he stood his ground,” his mother Cecilia Mutai, a primary school headteacher says.

She, however, says that her son had exhibited a love and passion for machinery from a tender age but they assumed this interest would fade as he grew up. That was never to be the case.

“The more he grew up the more his love for machines became stronger. When he resigned his job as a teacher we realised there is nothing we could do and decided to support him. We ended up paying for him to pursue his dream course," she says.

Cecilia said she has learned that parents should not impose their will on their children and should just let him be.

On his part, Langat says being able to drive big machinery was a dream come true for him. The history and Swahili trained teacher said he pursued the education course to appease his mother but his heart was not in the classroom.

“During my primary school days, I would watch the caterpillars, bulldozers and graders making our local road and I yearned to be behind the wheels. I made up my mind that when I grow up I want to be an excavator driver. This is where my heart and passion has always been and I’m looking forward to working in the field,” he says.

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