|Laikipia East Sub-county Director of Education Wilson Kipaloi, who is visually impaired, listens to his phone. [PHOTO: JAMES MUNYEKI/STANDARD]|
By JAMES MUNYEKI
Laikipia County: On the dais at Rumuruti Catholic Church hall during Laikipia West district education day stands a dark man in a black suit and red tie. A closer look at him and one notices he is holding a white cane, indicating that he is visually impaired.
And when the master of ceremonies introduces him as the sub-county director of education, the crowd is in shock.
Wilson Kipaloi, 48, is a man who has beaten all odds to rise to the position. He is in charge of Laikipia East sub-county where he oversees the running of education institutions. Kipaloi was appointed to the seat last year having served in various capacities as a teacher.
It is the story of a man who has gone through thick and thin to attain his current title.
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Kipaloi was born in Kilimon in Samburu County to a family of pastoralists.
It is here that he attended nursery school. Then, what he did not expect happened.
“I fell sick at the age of eight only for the doctors to diagnose me with measles. I attended various hospitals and was not cured,” he recalls.
One Monday morning, Kipaloi woke up to find that he had lost his sight. “This was the worst day of my life and it keeps lingering in my mind. Imagine waking up blind,” he says.
It was hard, he says, to come to terms with his new reality. “It took me a lot of time to believe that I could see no more. It became depressing to a point I would hide myself in bed and cry. I questioned God but later I came to realise that I could lead a happy life even while blind,” he says.
That year in 1973, his relatives raised some money to help him join Thika School for the Blind.
“Life was smooth here and I interacted well with my colleagues with whom we shared the same predicament. It is here that I decided to do all my best,” he remembers.
In 1987, Kipaloi sat his A-levels and passed. He was admitted to Kenyatta University where he undertook a Bachelors degree in education.
Immediately after finishing his university education, he was posted to Baragoi Secondary School as a history teacher. “This is where I came face to face with discrimination. Some teachers thought that I could not teach and dismissed me. I felt so bad and hated myself,” he recalls.
He sought to transfer to Kirisia Secondary School and later moved on to Mararal High School.
During this time, his school topped in history in Samburu District and he says this was a great motivation for him. “At least those who hated me were now envious of me. Every school was now after me,” Kipaloi says.
And it was after serving in the teaching fraternity that the Government recognised his achievements and appointed him to his current position. He attributes his success to determination and ability to interact with the people. “I always make friends despite my disability. This has been one of the motivating factors in life,” he notes.
And so far, Kipaloi says, he is happy with his new job.
“I’m ready to serve the country in whichever position that I’m called to serve. I will dedicate my all for the betterment of this country,” he says.
He is married to Joy Rantakua and they have been blessed with seven children. “My family is my biggest inspiration,” he notes.