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Don't Give Up

?Muli, you will repeat Standard Seven.? These devastating words came from my father. His voice and facial expression affirmed to me that my fate was sealed. His decisions were always final. I sat there, saying nothing, but my tears said everything. My soul was wounded, and my future blurred.

It was on a Saturday of January, 1974, when the results for the high school entrance exam were announced. I had a ?C? average, and as such, I couldn?t be admitted to a government high school.

My uncle and my father?s foster son, both my classmates, had better grades, and both were admitted into good schools. Now I had to have my brother become my classmate. This was a nightmare. My brother was three years younger and was the best student in his class. I hated to be humiliated by his excellent performance.

I hid myself in back of our house and cried, ?Oh, God?how come I am the only one who has to repeat?? My mother, after not seeing me for hours, called my name. When I responded, she came and found me.

With her arm on my shoulder, she said, ?It is just one year, and you could go to a good high school. My child, do not give up.?

Why would I not give up? This was not the first time I was told to repeat a class. I had repeated second and sixth grades. Those earlier times were not as bad; I didn?t have to be left behind by family members. In those other times, my fate was not determined by exams. My father made the decisions. I also had known neighbors who had sat for this high school entrance exam for seven years without succeeding. Repeating Standard Seven was not a guarantee that I would get good grades.

When my mother left me alone, her words ?? My child, do not give up,? kept coming into my mind. Until that day, I had never prayed from my heart. I was accustomed to reciting prayers that were written in a church book. However, this time I prayed from my heart. I promised God that I would always pray, attend mass and study for the high school exam.

This childlike resolution consoled my heart. With rekindled hope, I repeated Standard Seven. Yes, my young brother did perform better than I did several times. Other people made jokes about my academic abilities. But I did not let their opinion about me became my reality. I hit the books harder than ever before, prayed and attended mass as regularly as I could.

As fate would have it, just before the exam time, I suffered from malaria. I thought this was the end of my dream of ever joining government high school. but, God had everything planned. I was relatively well a few weeks before sitting for the exams. When the exam results were announced in January, 1975, I had an average of ?B?, and I was admitted to Tala High School. My brother and I were two of about ten students from a class of 120 who were admitted to government high schools.

Four years later, I was admitted to a two-year advanced level high school after another international exam that forced thousands of students out of their dreams for further education. After the two years, I sat for the university entrance exam. This was known to be an exterminator. For every hundred students, less than ten made it to the university. Again, I made it.

Precisely sixteen years after my father?s words, ?Muli, you will repeat Standard Seven,? my schooling culminated with a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming.

It was at the University of Nairobi where I learned about God?s plan of salvation. I accepted Jesus as my personal savior. Through my experiences, I learned several lessons. Always take positive steps of faith in the circumstances that God brings into your life. Always turn to God first in any situation, but not as a last choice. Accept failures as stepping stones. Never allow other people?s to be a stumbling block. Always see yourself for what you can be in the future, not necessarily based on what you are now. AND NEVER GIVE UP.

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