Jayne Jepchirchir Chelimo has lost an angel in former President Daniel Moi who died at Nairobi Hospital on Tuesday this week.
Three days to his death, Moi had paid Chelimo’s medical bill. She has been undergoing treatment for a heart condition she was diagnosed with a while back.
Chelimo met Mzee Moi in 2002 at Moi High School Kabarak where she was admitted after sitting her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations but her parents couldn’t raise the school’s tuition fee.
On hearing about her plight, Moi picked up the matter and paid for her education through university.
“I am in shock, Moi was like a father to me, he has been taking care of me the way a father would to his child. When he learnt that my parents couldn’t raise my fees, he didn’t hesitate to lend me a helping hand and has done it whole-heartedly until I completed my masters in 2014,” Chelimo says. Chelimo, now a nurse at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), spends between Sh50,000 and Sh80,000 on medication every month, an amount Mzee Moi paid without fail. He wrote the last cheque on February 1, 2020.
Chelimo recalled the times she picked cheques from Mzee Moi’s home in Kabarnet Gardens and every time she met him, he would emphasise on the importance of working hard and seizing every opportunity she came across.
“Mzee was not only my mentor but also a father to me. I am alive because he paid my medical bills. I also got to go to school because he chose to help me. I will forever be indebted to him and his family,” Chelimo said.
To Chelimo, Moi’s helping heart was a true reflection of humanity. “I am who I am because of him.”
Chelimo was born in Tenges village, Baringo Central and her family could not raise her school fees. This is how her paths crossed with that of the late Mzee Moi. After joining the school, she maintained an excellent academic record and it is at Kabarak where she also developed an interest in athletics. Her dream of becoming an international athlete, however, faded after she was diagnosed with pulmonary artery stenosis when she was in Form Two.
Her condition worsened, and she got admitted to several private hospitals in Nakuru forcing her out of school for the better of the year.
She shared her plight with Prof Henry Kiplagat, the then principal at the school who started taking her for medical check ups until she was done with her secondary education.
“I couldn’t imagine letting Mzee down so one day I decided to share my story with the principal. From then on he could take me to Nairobi Hospital where I was being treated whenever I had an appointment so I didn’t miss school as much,” she added. In 2006, she wrote her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and scored grade B, and received an invitation letter to enroll for a degree in Information Technology (IT) at Kenyatta University.
She developed an interest in nursing during her medical checkups and when she shared with Moi what she wanted to study, he was supportive and facilitated her enrollment at Nairobi Hospital Nursing School where she also secured her first employment. In 2007, her health deteriorated, and she had to go to India for further treatment. Again, Mzee Moi paid for that also.
“Mzee Moi booked my ticket to travel to India for a surgery and paid all the bills. He didn’t care about his status and position in society, whenever I called, he answered and assured me of his support throughout my life. I can only ask God to rest his soul in eternal peace,” Chelimo said.
In 2014, she enrolled for a higher Diploma at Mater Hospital where she studied midwifery. She later got a job at Aga Khan University Hospital where she worked for a while and moved to Equator Health Centre in Baringo. She is currently at MTRH.
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