6 different schools. 8+ different homes. From Kibera, to Thika, to Kiambu, to other parts of Nairobi, to Maai Maihu, to Narok… The story that pours out of Kijabe College of Health Sciences student Francis Kimani is anything but stable.
Throughout these years, Francis lived with his mother, grandparents, and cousins. He and his family were displaced for post-election violence, financial collapse of schools, job changes, and family reasons. Through it all, Francis worked hard.
“I loved biology and chemistry, and I desired to study medicine and become a medical doctor or surgeon.”
Despite his dreams, hard work, and the constant comfort and support of his mother, Francis faced intense disappointment when he received his final exam scores at the end of form 4. They were high enough to apply to university, but not high enough for medical school.
“I was devastated. I had worked so hard, but my dream of becoming a doctor could not be realized. I ended up in Maai Maihu, tending my grandmother’s sheep. Who am I now? A boy tending sheep! The devastation lasted for some time, but then I had to accept.”
It was in this place of acceptance, in the middle of 2016, that Francis’ uncle encouraged him to apply to the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) where he met all requirements for the role of Clinical Medicine. He decided to apply. Twice. He never received any response to his application.
Several months later however, Francis describes a return of hope.
“When my dad was walking around Kijabe Hospital after my sister’s birth, he saw the sign for ‘Kijabe College of Health Sciences’ (KCHS). He encouraged me to apply.”
“I had never been to Kijabe, but I knew it is a private institution, which is much more difficult to enter and more expensive than public institutions. I was currently working with my mother in her grocery, so I thought, ‘Who knows what will happen? I have to at least try.’ So, I applied in faith and had an interview. When I got the news I was accepted, I felt such hope.”
When asked about his experience at KCHS, Francis replies with a huge smile,
“Kijabe has been great. You can grow wholesomely here – intellectually, socially, spiritually… I have many good mentors and great friendships. There is a different view of life here. The work is so much more than the money or experience. It’s about service to God and others, with the knowledge God has given you. We learn here that when we receive blessings from God, it is to stretch our hands out to give back to the community. This is what I hope to do.”
Francis has been able to attend and remain at KCHS due to the sacrificial financial gifts of his parents, through both private and government loans, and finally, 2021 Valerie Hill Memorial Scholarship recipient through Friends of Kijabe. He has completed his third year in Clinical Medicine and will soon apply for his 1-year internship that completes the program. Once he is a Clinical Officer, Francis will begin to pay back his loans, support his family, and hopes to go on to even higher education.
As he describes seasons of devastation and hope in his life, Francis says, “Grateful. I feel grateful for God and Kijabe.”
For enrollment or other questions about Kijabe College of Health Sciences, please visit www.kijabehospital.org. Intakes are March and September.
*All admissions decisions and scholarship/loan recommendations are made by the Kijabe College of Health Sciences, not by Friends of Kijabe.