Kimani Marugue: Achieving Lifelong Dreams in Your 80s

By Katie Gilbert

Study - ABC

The movie trailer for The First Grader details Kimani Marugue's greatest achievement: going back to primary school at the age of 84. It shows children in Kenya flocking across a field to school as a radio host announces that the new government has granted free education for all. Among the flock, is Kimani who had been waiting for this announcement for about 40 years. Learn more about Kimani's inspiring life. 

Waiting To Get An Education

Kimani wanted to become a first grader at the age of 84. Why? He started school as an octogenarian simple because it was his first chance he had to get an education. He didn't want to let the opportunity pass him by.

Before 2004, Kimani could not afford to go to school at the age of his peers. When he was growing up, the government charged fees for education and he became a part of the Kenyan fight for independence, fighting against the colonial rule. After being displaced in his country and joining the fight against the British, he had to give up his education but was determined to pursue it again once he got the chance.  

Kimani's persistence landed him in a classroom desk at Kapkenduiywo Primary School with a pencil and notebook in hand, ready to learn how to read and write. He dressed up in a blue and khaki uniform and sat among his peers — all children — while he developed a love for literacy and education.   

Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve a Dream

In an interview on NPR, David Archer, who had met Kimani when he was traveling around New York promoting education, spoke about his memories with Kimani. He attested to his passion for education and the joy he took in learning.  

David was able to explain that one of the reasons Kimani had wanted to go back to school was so that he could learn how to read the Bible and count. These skills were a priority for him as he sat in his classroom at primary school and became his dual driving goals.  

"It's not easy learning to read and write when you're that age," said David, "One of the biggest challenges is the manual dexterity of learning to hold a pen in your hand and form letters. 

Still Kimani, who had been used to carrying weapons and farm tools, he was able to get a grasp on his thin pencil and delicately write his name - something he wouldn't have been able to do had he not fought to return to school. 

His achievement is really proof that it is never too late to go after a dream. Kimani was brave enough to dress up like a child as an adult in order to fulfill his life-long dream when he could have easily written off school and lessons in favor of a quiet home life. Instead, he now serves as an inspiration figure, showing that with a little persistence and bravery, you can achieve your aspirations — even in your 80s!  

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Tags: Golden Inspirations

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