For 14-year-old Kelvin Muriuki from Karicheni in Kieni East, Nyeri, grinding poverty in his family had shattered his dream of proceeding to secondary school.
Muriuki scored 372 marks in the 2016 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination and was selected to join Nyeri High School.
But just when he had joined his father at a quarry to crush stones in search of the Sh53,000 fees needed, Kenya Air Force Veteran Officers Association stepped in and offered to sponsor his education.
That was not all. On Wednesday, Muriuki was the man of the moment in the sleepy dry village when a helicopter, hired by the association, took him from his former primary school to Nyeri High School.
James Maina, the school principal, said Muriuki was the first student to be dropped off by plane at the school. Students and guards left their lunch in disbelief and surrounded the chopper.
Muriuki, in casual wear and carrying a metal box and a bucket, was accompanied by his parents, Peter Nderitu and Margaret Wangui.
All had the experience of flying in a helicopter for the first time, though the journey lasted just 15 minutes. Mr Nderitu and his wife said what happened was beyond her imagination.
He said his efforts to apply for the Wings to Fly scholarship, CDF and county government bursary bore no fruit.
Since the results were announced a month ago by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Muriuki has been accompanying his father to the quarry. Their combined daily income was less than Sh300.
“In the three weeks that I was with my father in the quarry, we raised Sh2,000 only. I had resigned myself to repeating Standard Eight,” Muriuki said.
His plight was highlighted by the media and the Air Force officers’ association responded to his appeal. The boy now says his dream is to become a pilot.