Pauline: In her words…
My name is Pauline Putumoi. I am a Maasai girl and I come from Olgirgiri. I am a Kenyan by nationality and I am proud of being a Kenyan girl.
When I was a little kid, I was really hoping to become someone special in the future, but to make the matter sore, around 1995 my parents were not able to afford my school fees. I am very sad to remember all things that had happened during my past life. During that time for about 3-4 years I was just staying with my parents at home, but later I joined a nearby school where I stayed up to class 4. My parents eventually migrated due to the drought.
The circumstances forced me to transfer schools because I couldn’t stay without my parents. I joined a school in the forest where my parents decided to live. According to our culture, a Maasai girl should be initiated [circumcised] and prepared for marriage and a girl should not be in school, but how lucky was I? I keep on thanking God because even through lots of difficulties, God strengthened my parents and me and I was able to cope. Many school days I stayed at home because teachers said they needed school fees but I am very proud of my parents because they spent their time doing work so they could pay my school fees. I struggled in my studies but my parents were telling me that if I keep on improving then one day I will be in high school because God has a purpose for my life.
Not long after, I was promoted to class 8. I kept asking myself questions like what will I do after completing my final exam? There was no hope of going to secondary school since my parents could not afford to buy all sorts of things that are needed for a girl to go to school. But our principal was a good man who kept on telling me that you do your best and God will do the rest because if you put more effort and get good marks in your final exams, you will get a sponsorship from Form 1 up to Form 4.
Really, I was almost hopeless, but later I came to realize that God has a plan for my life and then I started to make a choice and I realized that nothing would come easily unless I put more effort. Before I did my final exam, my head teacher called me into his office and told me more about Daraja, which was about to open, but I was so confused. I didn’t understand him. After days passed and I did my KCPE I was eagerly waiting for the results and later they were out. Surely I saw my life change because my hardworking bore good fruits and I was able to attain the marks, which would bring me to Daraja. (After she received her scores, Pauline came to the Daraja gate every day for 2 months to fight for a spot at the school.)
I was so happy when I heard that I was admitted to Daraja which I was not expecting, but truly I knew that all that hard work would make my dreams come true. Now I am very thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Doherty for offering a free education to me because if not for them, I would not be where I am now. I know that one day I will visit USA to study there because ever since I was a little kid I used to tell my mom that one day I would be a future leader in our community.