At 90 years old, she’s probably the oldest Primary School pupil in the world! She’s class Prefect, and her six great, great grandchildren, pupils in the same class, say she’s their best friend. The class call her ‘Gogo’, which means grandmother in the local Kalenjin language in Kenya.
Priscilla Sitienei was a midwife for 65 years, in village of Ndalat, in the Rift Valley. Some of the children she delivered are at the same school. She joined Leaders Vision Preparatory School five years ago, after they’d been persuaded by her determination to learn.
Why did she want to go back to school? ‘I’d like to be able to read the Bible, ‘ she said, ‘ I also want to inspire children to get an education. Too many older children are not in school. They even have children themselves.’
She also wanted to learn how to read and write so she could help pass on her midwifery skills and write down her knowledge of herbal medicines.
Gogo says she confronts children who are not in school and asks them why. ‘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.’
The headmaster, Headmaster David Kinyanjui believes Gogo, who boards at the village school, is an example to the rest of her class. ‘I’m very proud of her,’ he says, ‘Headmaster David Kinyanjui believes Gogo, who boards at the village school, is an example to the rest of her class.
“I’m very proud of her,” he says. ‘”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. She is doing well… considering her age I can say I have seen a big difference in this school since she came.’
Gog also also tells stories to her classmates under trees near the playing fields to make sure her knowledge of local customs are passed on. The children listen to every word she says.
An 11-year-old girl says she is Gogo’s best friend “because she tells us stories and we go to PE together”.
Proof that you’re never too old to learn, and to inspire others. Go, Gogo!
(Thank you, BBC, for a happy story this morning)