It’s never too late to do something you really want to – and this is a great example. A 90 year old woman from Kenya decided to go to primary school. She is believed to be the oldest pupil in the world.
Sitting at the front of the class (because seeing can be a bit difficult when you’re 90), Priscilla Sitienei listens closely while she takes notes in English on her notebook. After serving as a midwife for 65 years, she is now a colleague to some children she helped give birth to.
Affectionately known as “Gogo”, which means grandmother in the local Kalenjin language, she wanted to learn how to read and write in English – something she never got a chance to do as a child.
“I’d like to be able to read the Bible; I also want to inspire children to get an education. Too many older children are not in school. They even have children themselves.”
Gogo also wanted to motivate children to go to school – if she can do it, so can any kid.
“They tell me they are too old,” she says, “I tell them, ‘Well I am at school and so should you.’ I see children who are lost, children who are without fathers, just going round and round, hopeless. I want to inspire them to go to school.”
Sadly, the school turned her down initially, but they ultimately understood just how motivated and committed she is. Now, she is the pride of the school, and the entire learning environment has improved since she joined.
“Gogo has been a blessing to this school, she has been a motivator to all the pupils. She is loved by every pupil, they all want to learn and play with her”, said headmaster David Kinyanjui.
Gogo also shares some of her wisdom and knowledge of herbal medicine to kids – something which should definitely be passed on to future generations.
The current record for oldest primary school pupil in the Guinness Book of Records is held by another Kenyan, the late Kimani Maruge. He went to school at the age of 84 in 2004.
Gogo still continues her work as a midwife, and pregnant mothers still visit her and ask for her help when they give birth. So in a way, she still continues her job, and goes to school. It’s never too late to go back to school. Her message is also heartwarming:
“I want to say to the children of the world, especially girls, that education will be your wealth, don’t look back and run to your father,” she says. “With education you can be whatever you want, a doctor, lawyer or a pilot.”