Thursday, December 13, 2007
From Mathere to Manchester and a Masters
Meeting Sammy Gitau donning his graduation regalia today on Oxford Road as he prepares for his dream celebration betrays the tribulations of a man determined to conquer all odds. Sammy is graduating with a Masters in International development from the University of Manchester but that is not the news what is the fact that he had only two years of formal education in Kenya prior to coming to Manchester.
Sammy is one Kenyan proud of his success and he made it known immediately arrived in UK's largest university last September. Within his first week of arrival here his story was in the regional newspapers but nobody paid attention. Now that he has accomplished the unimaginable he hot news in almost all national newspapers.
He is today gracing the front page of the Independent, yes that newspaper which paradoxically had a headline two months ago that Africans are genetically less intelligent compared to other races.
Gitau's amazing race to academic glory doesn't end at his graduation today. He claims to have fished Manchester University's prospectus from garbage pit while scavenging for food. From there he surmounted two failed attempts to secure UK student visa to come to Manchester.
Shaming the devil
So how did he qualify with only two years in formal education one may ask. Well according to charming Sammy Manchester university decided his vast experience in Mathare working with street children was practical knowledge enough to make him eligible for admission. So the university went ahead and paid his tuition while charitable organizations funded his living costs.
What a humbling and remarkable achievement by Sammy? This may just be the latest proof that potential talents are wasting in our streets. But again you have to BELIEVE Sammy's story first. Knowing what one undergoes to secure a UK visa, Mr. Gitau can aptly be described as one of the luckiest Kenyans. His feat can be rarely replicated by anybody soon.
For good measure and as a humble payback, Mr Gitau's parting shot is that he is channeling his education and his energies at improving life for others in Mathare slum. Good luck brother, go past the skies.