Great-Great Grandmother Attends Kenyan School With Her Grandchildren

| by Karen Eisenberg

90-year-old Priscilla Sitienei is believed to be the oldest primary school pupil in the world, according to BBC News. Sitienei, also known as Gogo, which means grandmother in Kalenjin language, enrolled in the Leaders Vision Preparatory School five years ago. Gogo attends classes with six of her great-great grandchildren.

Before attending school, BBC News reports that for 65 years, Gogo worked as a midwife, helping deliver babies in her village of Ndalat in the Rift Valley. Some of her current classmates who are now between the ages of 10 and 14 were delivered by Gogo.

Gogo did not have the opportunity to attend school as a young girl and never learned to read or write. Now she is taking full advantage of school and takes classes in English, Math, PE, Singing and Dance. Gogo wears a blue uniform with a green jumper and lives in a dorm at the school with one of her great-great grandchildren. She continues to deliver babies on Saturdays.

BBC News reports that Gogo would like to learn to read the Bible and she hopes to set an example for all children. Gogo believes there is no excuse for a child not to attend school. She tells children that if she can attend school at 90-years-old then so can they.

Headmaster David Kinyanjui believes that Gogo is an inspiration to her classmates. He says he is very proud of Gogo and that her classmates love and respect her. According to BBC News, an 11-year-old girl proudly claims that Gogo is her best friend. She likes the stories Gogo tells and enjoys attending PE class with her.

Gogo makes it a priority to share her life stories with her much younger classmates, who quietly listen to her every word with their eyes and ears wide open. She wants her knowledge of local customs and herbal medicines to be passed down to the younger generation. Gogo hopes to become very proficient in reading and writing so she can share her skillset as a midwife with others.

In addition to being an inspiration to young children, Gogo is also a record setter. BBC News reports that Gogo has surpassed the record of the late Kimani Maruge, who first attended school at the age of 84-years-old. Maruge was named in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest primary school pupil.

Gogo tells BBC News that "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.”  "With education you can be whatever you want, a doctor, lawyer or a pilot."

Gogo is truly an inspiration to all and a wonderful role model to the children in her community. She is a woman who deserves much recognition.

Sources: BBC News