Growing up in circumstances of limited resources is a daunting challenge that many individuals have grappled with. However, envision an even more heart-wrenching scenario – losing your mother at the tender age of 15, rendering you an orphan.
Such a somber reality befell Benjamin Kiprop, now 28 years old, hailing from Baringo County. His remarkable journey from a modest tout to a proficient lawyer stands as a testament to the enduring power of hope.
From an early age, the concept of self-sufficiency became deeply rooted in him after the untimely passing of his sole pillar of support – his mother. At just 15, Kiprono was admitted to Njoro Boys High School for his first year when his mother, Milka Chebon, tragically passed away, plunging his young life into a shadowed abyss, particularly given the absence of his earlier-departed father.
This marked the inception of his struggle due to financial constraints. Following the completion of his secondary education in 2008, he fell short of the required grades to pursue further studies.
Fueled by an unwavering determination to make ends meet, he chose to work as a tout in Mogotio. With time, he ascended the ranks, progressing from a conductor to eventually becoming a driver on the Kabarnet-Nakuru route.
Reflecting on this phase, Kiprop recalls, “I lost my parents when I was 15 years old, which led me to become a makanga (tout). Eventually, I moved up to become a conductor and later a driver. Over the span of about 12 years, I accumulated valuable experience in driving motor vehicles. Throughout this journey, I’ve never allowed the fact that I drive vehicles to make me feel disadvantaged.”
During his tenure in the public transport sector, a momentous decision germinated – the decision to return to academia and bring his dream of becoming a lawyer to fruition. However, this path was fraught with challenges. Kiprop encountered a series of admission rejections from different institutions, largely due to his association with the matatu industry.
Recalling these rejections, he shares, “I approached a school within Baringo County, and upon disclosing my background as a tout, the principal candidly informed me that he would not extend an opportunity to me, citing a prevailing perception that individuals from the stage were often involved in substance abuse.”
Yet, despite these discouraging setbacks, a benevolent former school director he had encountered at the Mogotio stage emerged as a guiding light. This individual facilitated Kiprop’s admission and even sponsored his education.
With unwavering determination and perseverance, Kiprop worked diligently and achieved the necessary grades to gain entry into a university. Supported by well-wishers, he enrolled for his undergraduate degree at Kabarak University, eventually realizing his lifelong dream.
Recalling those years, he reflects, “During my undergraduate studies at Kabarak University, I would attend classes whenever they were scheduled. Whenever my timetable allowed, I would return to the stage – the place we used to call ‘squat’ – in order to earn a livelihood.”
Kiprop’s accomplishments have garnered recognition and admiration from both his former colleagues in the matatu industry and the legal community. Among those who laud his achievements is Eric Theuri, the President of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), who celebrated Kiprop’s remarkable journey.
Theuri describes Kiprop’s triumph as a wellspring of inspiration for the local community and the generations yet to come.