President Uhuru Kenyatta, DP and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta took time to mingle and chat with pupils who joined them in the maiden SGR train ride from Mombasa to Nairobi on Wednesday.
They separately visited the pupils riding in a special coach of the SGR reserved for them where they sat with the learners to find out about their experiences both in Mombasa where they underwent part of their mentorship program and during the historic train ride.
The pupils grabbed the opportunity to take selfies with the three leaders who readily accepted sharing their photographs with the learners.
The 47 students under the Pures mentorship program said they felt excited and privileged to ride in the same train with the President, the Deputy President and the First Lady.
They described the Mombasa expedition and the train ride as a major eye-opener that gave them a new perspective about their lives.
The pupils were drawn from across the 47 counties through the Pupils Reward Scheme- a mentorship programme for talented and top-performing pupils from across the country, started by President Kenyatta and the First Lady in early 2015.
The First Lasy was the first to visit the pupils in their coach where she readily accepted to take photos with the excited learners who competed amongst each other to capture the best moments of the train journey.
Using special Learner Digital Devices (LDD) issued to them earlier in the morning by the Kenya ICT Authority, each of the 47 pupils tried to capture the best selfies with Margaret as she enquired about their experiences in Mombasa and freely shaking their hands and giving them encouragement.
They assured her that they would put into practice everything they had learnt under the mentorship program including the choice of their careers, co-existing harmoniously with other Kenyans and managing their lives positively.
An hour later, Uhuru surprised the pupils when he also visited them quickly followed by Ruto.
After taking all the selfies they needed with the President and his Deputy, Uhuru told pupils that he will personally be expecting to read their reports on the SGR and which they are expected to compile after the historic first SGR journey.
“I am looking forward to see the results (reports) about your experience, thoughts and proposals over the SGR .I want to see the best three. So spread this information amongst yourselves," he told the pupils before visiting other passengers in other coaches of the train.
As part of the mentorship program, the pupils are expected to take pictures and record videos using special LDDs that have complete learning content covering all subjects from Form 1-4.
They will then use use the pictures and videos to compile a report about the SGR project.
The best report will win a Sh00,000 award from the Kenya ICT authority while the second and third runners-up will take home Sh75,000 and Sh50,000 respectively.
The pupils enjoyed special Wi-fi facilities in their coach to enable them complete their assignments without any connectivity challenges.
The excited pupils told the President, the Deputy President and the First Lady that the Mombasa expedition was an opener for them especially on the need for Kenyans to promote team-work, co-ordination and integration.
Wilson Mutembei, 16 years and in Form three at Lenana High School but representing Meru County described the train ride with the First Family as fantastic and memorable.
Dagane Ibrahim, 19, from Wajir High School said the train journey was interesting and a new experience to him while 14-year old Dianah Chemutai from St Joseph Chepterit, Kericho, described the train ride as exciting.
David Mwashigadi , the Secretary General of the Student Council at Kenyatta High School, Mwatate said riding with President Kenyatta in the same train was the most memorable thing that he will remember for many years.
Thousands of jubilant Kenyans along the SGR route abandoned other activities to witness the writing of Kenya’s new transport history as the modern passenger train zoomed the various centres and making stop-overs at Mariakani, Voi, Mtito-Andei, Emali, Athi-River and Nairobi where Uhuru addressed excited Kenyans and officially openly the respective
THE STAR - KENYA