Jespher Nyaboke from Kenya’s village of Kiong'ongi in Nyamira county was left under the care of a foster mother because she reportedly lost her parents at birth.
According to Tuko.co.ke, her foster mother was so cruel that she kept assaulting her, to the extent that she lost hearing in one of her ears when she was at age 10.
Fearing for her life, Nyaboke thought it prudent to escape from the house to seek refuge wherever she would feel safer.
"I was about 10 when I decided that anywhere, any place, would be better. I ran away from home, boarding a bus to Kisii town. A compassionate stranger spotted me and adopted me. He took me in with his family and began educating me," she told Tuko.co.ke.
While out of home, she managed to continue her primary education and proceeded to Kebabe Girl's High School and sat for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams in 2002.
With her certificate, she wanted to enroll in a nursing training school, but before the journey to becoming a nurse could start, the guardian who was taking care of her died mysteriously.
She narrated: “I dreamt of becoming a nurse. I admired how they wore spotlessly clean, white coats. Just when I was beginning to map out my dream, the guardian died. It was suspected poisoning. My hopes were dimmed in one stroke of misfortune."
As the saying goes, perseverance is the key to success. Despite the unexpected death of her guardian, Nyaboke did not throw in the towel. She resorted to doing menial jobs to fend for herself. During the struggle, she bumped into a friend of hers one day who gave her a copy of Mount Kenya University’s prospectus in 2009.
"In it were diploma courses in nursing and medical laboratory. But the university was in Thika town, more than 300 kilometres from where I was. I didn’t have money for bus fare, let alone the tuition fees. I applied for a constituency bursary, and received KSh 4,000," she said.
Out of excitement, Nyaboke used her savings from the petty job to buy items contained in the prospectus to enroll in the university.
However, upon arrival at Thika town, school authorities told her that she could only obtain admission number if she paid the required KSh 100. Fortunately, she approached an official in the school’s admission department who gave her the money to pay.
Guess what! That was not the end of the poor lady’s woes. In fact, she did not have money to either pay for hostel or rent an accommodation outside campus.
She then resorted to playing hide and seek with the university authorities and security guards to sleep in the lecture halls at night, using the tables as her makeshift bed.
“When I started my diploma course in Medical Laboratory at MKU Thika Campus in 2009, I used to sleep in class. I am not talking about the occasional dozing off during lectures. Literally using the lecture room as my bedroom. I had no money to pay for accommodation at the hostels, or rent out a room," she recounted.
Reports say she would freshen up at the ablution block, take a sweet for breakfast and settle in class every morning without any body knowing.
"When the hunger became too much, I opened up to a close friend who took my plight to MKU Students Association Cabinet. The Cabinet wrote to the university Board of Directors Chairman Simon Gicharu who was very sympathetic,"Nyaboke said.
She revealed in an interview with Tuko how the university offered her a full scholarship and in 2014, enabling her to graduate with a Degree in Medical Laboratory.
After school, the university was generous enough to offer her employment at the science laboratories where she worked and raised fund to do her Master's Degree in the same course, Tuko.co.ke reports.
Jespher Nyaboke’s story is exceptionally inspiring – if you are determined, you will surely make it.