Overcoming Challenges and Staying Positive – Paul Babu’s Story
There is so much good in all of us. A lot of potentials to be tapped, the best we can do is to help each other to bring it out.
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Overcoming Challenges and Staying Positive – Paul Babu’s Story

Overcoming Challenges and Staying Positive – Paul Babu’s Story

Overcoming Challenges and Staying Positive – Paul Babu’s Story

There is so much good in all of us. A lot of potentials to be tapped, the best we can do is to help each other to bring it out. My name is Paul Kelvin Babu, I am an undergraduate student of International Relations and Diplomacy at Mount Kenya University-Main Campus Thika. I grew up for quite some time as the only boychild with three sisters and a single parent. Our mother did the best she could to ensure we had the basic needs and, in my view, the standard essentials. Later on, I would have a baby brother and sister from a step-father.

I attended part of primary school at Olympic Primary School before moving to Western Kenya before post-election violence in 2008. Olympic Primary challenged me to perform well. Most of the time, I would manage to be at 2nd position. At one time, I became top position and this meant everything to me. From this experience, I always wanted to win. My mother tells me if she hadn’t moved to western Kenya from Makina in Kibra, I would have been a chokoraa. In Nambale-Busia I topped from class 4-8, particularly in the mock exams in the county.

I got the opportunity to join Alliance High School, while at the same time, I had a sister at Pangani Girls and another in Moi Girls High School Vokoli. I could see the worry in my mom. Our school fees was a huge burden on her. At the back of my mind, I kept telling myself I have done my part as a child or a student.

I applied for various scholarships and was unsuccessful. I remember that day crying with my mum because I couldn’t be admitted without school fees for the first term which was just Ksh. 21,500/=. Later on, with the help of my uncle, I was admitted. I was fortunate enough to win a four-year scholarship from the Family Group Foundation while admitted in school.

Some of the positive qualities I learnt from Alliance High School included faithful service and self-responsibility. While here, activities were always working with minimal or no supervision from teachers including exams. I served as a Junior Librarian in form one and in form two, I was the Junior Library Coordinator. Within this period up to the end of form three, I was always among the top ten students in my class.

Somewhere along my high school journey, I developed a reversed sleeping pattern. This hit me hardest in form 4. I would sleep abnormally during classes as well as in the exam room. I was at pains to explain to my friend Ronny, who tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to wake me up during a math exam.

I drastically dropped in performance and with no one to understand me or what was going on, I withdrew from people. I tried medications for three terms but all in vain. All my activeness, energy, social-self just departed me slowly by slowly as I moved deep into myself. In that lonely cave I did not find any help but a constant judgment of failure and letting down not just myself but my family, my sponsor, and my primary school.

At this point, I became suicidal and tried it. I never wanted to sit for the KCSE exams. I couldn’t think that I would bear such failure for the rest of my life. I scored a B- in the KCSE (2016), an exam I thoroughly slept in.

One of the things that tried to get me out of myself was Family Group Foundation Mentorship Programs. Having all the students meeting at Sports View Hotel impacted many of us including myself.

The level of care from the Foundation was quality. For many of us, this was the first time we were being taken to a hotel and spend more than 3-4 nights. Meeting the people working behind the desk to ensure that our school fees were paid on time, was everything to me. Even though I was shy to approach them. Today I wish I could go back there and tell them this. Most of the students can attest, the Family Bank Branches don’t own the story of the foundation as much as the foundation does. It’s also simple logic. The foundation and its program felt home to me more than the branch because these are people who work full time for you.

The content the facilitators and speakers prepared was way beyond our reach but simple within our scope. In one session we had CEOs telling their stories and taking questions from us. Even the most resourced child always wants to meet these people and the program gave us access to these senior managers and learn from their wealth of experience for free.

Listening to their stories from humble backgrounds that are relatable reminded me that it is not just possible but it is already happening. The journey was on and it is now that am realizing it. We would have random groups that meant I had to speak with students from schools that I did not know. I particularly remember in one instance Glenda and Beth (students) challenging me to get out there. I joined them in a dance on the stage and I was in synchrony with them. It was all fun. Today they are great friends.

Sheila Agisa from the Foundation seemed approachable. I explained to her my sleeping issue. In the beginning, I did this not because I thought she would understand but because I felt they needed an explanation on my deteriorating performance even if it would look like an excuse. Overtime she kept asking about it and it brought more and more talks into it. The talks which were on self-reflection eventually became therapies. She was digging into me and bringing out the valuable minerals from me. Making me see the gold in me and not the sand. Even when I saw the sand, she would turn it around for me to see that sand can be used to build a house. This introduced perspective in me. Today I see things from different angles.

I eventually joined the university after a tough talk with my mother. I never wanted to join another classroom just to go and sleep. Lucky enough I met a friend, Anita who took me to a pastor and we did prayers and I had this faith that all will be well. So, I joined the university to redeem myself for myself. Winning to me was everything. Well, things never changed I would sleep but kept on motivating myself. At this point, I realized everyone was in their mess and if I don’t fix mine that’s, all that is in me will go to waste. The journey was not easy cause I was still alone and again ended up being suicidal. This time I didn’t try it.

Then I met this friend, Mutiso. He had so little but gave so much out there. I saw the generosity in him that was in me. He is an outgoing and proactive person. He introduced me to his friend, Harry. Harry was a quiet but intelligent character. Mutiso would often organize meals for the three of us. I was not used to such kinds of things but eventually, they helped me slowly get out of myself. Closely we started a club in school, Diplomacy Club and we would excel out there in conferences. We hosted distinguished diplomats at the university including the Deputy Ambassador of Israel and the Africa Climate Change Regional Coordinator for UNEP.

I have done projects with the British Council, the University of West of Scotland from my Professor, Kennedy Mutundu, and the Embassy of Pakistan from Madam Wanjiku Kinyua. These are people who saw something in me. But they wouldn’t have seen all this if I gave up or even if I got an A in the KCSE. Through Mount Kenya University I attended Afro-Asia Fintech Inaugural Festival. There I met an author (Chris Colbert) who gave me his book titled This Is It, a book all who want to live their lives should read. I am grateful for everyone who saw me past the sleeping person. I am proud of myself as well because I have talked to two suicidal persons and I have received their positive feedback. I look back today and realize the moments I chose fear over courage and just laugh. Today am building a foundation where I will choose courage over fear. Thank you.

15 Comments
  • Brook Martin
    Posted at 10:30h, 10 June Reply

    An amazing story with a lesson and something to take from….

  • Glenda Achieng
    Posted at 10:32h, 10 June Reply

    This is really inspiring

  • Lena Atieno
    Posted at 10:56h, 10 June Reply

    You are gem. A brother to me ..a hero . The battle was hard but a victor you emerged. An inspiring story indeed. I believe the journey to success is hard. Kudos Babu!

  • Lolita Thaara
    Posted at 12:07h, 10 June Reply

    Wow!what a story!I so encouraging and challenging,,,to me especially who have gone through so little bt see life as ruthless already…
    So far Bravo!
    Sorry for that problem…I occasionally saw you sleep in class especially when wafula was dictating notes bt thought maybe you slept late watching a movie like I did…am so encouraged.Thank you.from now I choose courage over fear!

  • Harizon Ochieng'
    Posted at 12:37h, 10 June Reply

    Reading this story, in between, i got so very emotional. For me this relates to so many challenges we face as young people. It is a motivation that indeed it doesn’t matter where we come from or what obstacles we face in life if we discover ourselves in time and turn around our lives to be an inspiration to all those who are currently going through what we went through and most importantly to tell them that they can do it just as Paul never lost hope and did it!

  • Roy Ben
    Posted at 15:50h, 10 June Reply

    You forgot to Mention that you Graduate Top of your Class at MKU too. You are proof that in every person there is a flame that burns. And you need to seek and surround yourself with people that Fan Your Flame to Grow Bigger. You are Brave. And you have excellent taste in Friends.

  • Godelina mwakokha
    Posted at 20:02h, 10 June Reply

    Tough times never last but tough people do. My son you are the toughest. You had a beautiful life struggle that has a lot of lessons. Indeed life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… Its about learning to dance in the rain. Am proud of you my son.

  • Moses Ogilo
    Posted at 21:02h, 10 June Reply

    Inspiring story Babu, God is great, through all the struggles you’ve remained to be a role model leader to many of us.. More hard work always and God’s blessings.

  • Julius mutugi mutiso
    Posted at 21:57h, 10 June Reply

    Wow! Paul babu,am humbled to be part of your life story,this is an indication that whatever little things you do to people ,you never can tell how far it goes to help them,you are a true friend,tell them how in campus you always insisted on networking and building connections.Your story is a true reflection of a life grit,can never be straight,but the secret lies in how you approach the downs! Be BLessed brother,your future is bright,thank Family group foundation for me please.

  • Alice Wakanyi Mburu
    Posted at 21:59h, 10 June Reply

    Woow,Keba you have always been an inpiration to many of us.Your life story is soo emotional,I love it.I thank God that finally you were able to accept and embrace yourself.You have always been resourceful to me in my social life in campus and also in the academic world,I remember the many talks we have held concerning my performance.Cannot forget the numerous times i have borrowed your notes and you were always willing to assist me for sure you have been a blessing to many of us especialy from our class(BIR2017)
    I celebrate you as my hero.🤗👏..cannot fail to mention you have always been at the top from first year.

  • Kiprono Lamek
    Posted at 14:00h, 11 June Reply

    My brother Paul Keba you’ve been an inspiration to me from the word Go. Your story inspire many of us. I hold the view that your future is bright. May God bless you to continue touching many lives Through inspiration.

  • Ibrahim omondi
    Posted at 14:33h, 11 June Reply

    This is inspiring and is also a reminder for those of us having similar problems, to push and never give up, we are proud of you brother and as we continue to figure out how to be ourselves and successful in this life we will all do it together. God bless you all

  • Sharon Parsaloi
    Posted at 12:49h, 12 June Reply

    Keba!
    Your story is that of a conquerer!You have seen and conquered.
    I’m so inspired and encouraged.
    Your future is too luminous and I’m only glad you’re my friend and so I will be here to see just how luminous.
    You have always been so kind to so many of us in our IR class,you’ve helped so many people with their missing marks and class issues. You’ve been the strongest bridge we had to reach our lecturers!
    To me as person,you’ve been so instrumental in my campus journey,my to go to person every damn time and you’ve always given me a shoulder to lean on. One among my very few friends I know to be true and genuine. I’m so grateful to you for that.
    I’m super proud of you!

    • Chiro mwakuni moses
      Posted at 17:49h, 19 October Reply

      It’s so inspiring, encouraging and motivating

      • TFGF_admin
        Posted at 13:05h, 27 November Reply

        Yes, it is. Babu’s story is very inspiring.

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