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‘Sir, Let me tell you that the real reason for me wanting to study at Edinburg University is not that I want to be a civil engineer and break open that all male domain or in the future empower my poverty stricken family, and further more it is not even because I want to be the first female bulldozer driver, but rather because I have heard about haggis and I know I will LOVE it.”

 Haggis that savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onionoatmealsuetspices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the sheep’s gut.

News of that Scottish culinary fascination has reached my wee Kenyan village, and I just know I will love it. That is why I want to study civil engineering in Edinburg Sir”. The above was the focal point of my coaching Beatrice for her Skype call last Friday with the Registrar of the university.“Distract him with a true bluster that will blow right up his kilt Beatrice,” I urged her.

Well let the truth be known, Beatrice largely stuck to her script and with that became one of three Kenyans to be given a four year scholarship with all expenses paid to do her engineering degree in Edinburg.

Beatrice could barely contain her elation as she passed on to me the news of her selection. The oldest daughter of a family of four children whose father in 2011 left their mother to bring up the kids in Mukuru slum, Nairobi.

Fortunately Beatrice had free primary education at Ruben Centre Primary school and in grade eight she excelled to the level of attracting a ‘Wings to fly’ scholarship to attend secondary school. In her Form 4 final Secondary school exams she scored a Grade of A plain with an A in physics, Mathematics and chemistry which clearly put her in her own stratosphere.

 In January 2016 I gave her a job in the library while she waited for university places but that didn’t last long as Equity bank and a key player in the Wings to fly program employed her. In September of that year her scholarship came through and she started medicine but now this new opportunity to fly.  ‘Beatrice are you happy to give up medicine for civil engineering,” I asked. “I must,” she answered without hesitation.

 I have sent her back to Kisii where she was born to try and get a replacement for her lost birth certificate and from there it is to the passport office, and from there the university and UK government will do the rest. And from there? I wondered and imagined that the sky in this case is truly the limit.

By Frank O'Shea