Duncan turns a new leaf
Duncan Kirui never imagined he would live a better life. Born 27 years ago to peasant parents, Kirui said back then, money was an issue and there was never enough to meet their needs.
“I remember repeating standard six twice and dropping out of school in class eight. However, I got a second chance at a primary school six kilometres from home and that is when my determination to succeed in life was borne,” said Kirui who loved hunting at their Siomo village in Bomet.
His father’s disability made family life harder and in 1994, his mother left home and so Kirui and his five siblings had to fend for themselves.
When the situation worsened, some of his siblings were taken to live with their relatives. His mother and siblings have since returned home.
After completing primary education, he joined Kamungei High School but dropped out in 2002 while in Form Two due to lack of fees.
He sat his KCSE in 2005 and scored a B plain and for two years, Kirui worked as a volunteer teacher at a local school.
In 2007, a Good Samaritan sponsored his university education at Daystar University and he started classes in 2008.
City life was too expensive for him and there were times that his lecturers had to pay for his tuition when his sponsor could not manage.
“I was even known as the guy who wore one specific jacket because it was all I had,” he said.
He lived with a well-wisher in Ongata Rongai and would take an early bus to town and then walk to Daystar, Valley Road in time for class.
“My greatest challenge was poverty and twice I did not sit my exams. I rarely had lunch except for roasted maize. There are times I slept without dinner. Once I even walked from Valley Road to Rongai due to lack of fare,” he said.
In 2009, he contested the post of secretary general of Daystar University Student Association which he surprisingly won.
“I learnt vital lessons about life; that you can be what you desire as long as you work hard and are willing to pay the price. As a second year student, I won a seat reserved for fourth years,” he said.
He graduated with a first class honours and won the Communication Award for being the best communication student in 2012. He also received the Community Service Award for exemplary servant leadership.
He has worked with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Agency, Chama Cha Uzalendo as the deputy director for communication and later as the secretary in charge of elections and nominations.
With these credentials, Kirui set out to take on the world. He contested the Konoin parliamentary seat in last year’s General Election, and even though he lost, he said it was an eyeopener for the youths.
“My advise to those facing difficulties is to turn their challenges into opportunities. Get out of your comfort zone, be patient and watch your positive choices change your life.”