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Priscilla Sitienei is not your typical grade-schooler. She’s a little taller. She knows a thing or two about life — she was a midwife for 65 years — and she’s a little slower on the playground than the other students. But Priscilla, known affectionately as Gogo, does know the value of an education.
“I want to inspire children to go to school,” she says. So she puts on her blue uniform and sits at the same wooden desk each day to learn math, English and science. In her class are seven of her great-grandchildren.
Headmaster David Kinyanjui says Gogo, which means grandmother in the local Kalenjin language, has been an inspiration. “Gogo has been a blessing to this school. She has been a motivator to all the pupils.”
In addition to reading and writing, Gogo participates in PE and drama. And because of her experience, she also tells stories to the students about the old ways, keeping the history alive. An 11-year-old girl says she is Gogo’s best friend “because she tells us stories and we go to PE together.”
Education around the world has become more accessible in the last 20 years. It is one of the best tools for lifting the underprivileged out of poverty. It’s also an individual choice, and that’s what makes Gogo such a marvel. She sings and dances with the other students, doesn’t mind asking for help from a classmate and doesn’t hesitate to keep the other kids in order.
A young classmate says: “We love Gogo because when we make noise, she tells us to keep quiet.” Time is valuable to Gogo. She wants to make the most of it.
And so should we.
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