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NEVER GIVE UP

Photos: What it’s like for a 68-year-old grandfather to attend school

By Quartz Staff

A typical day in 68-year-old Durga Kami’s life goes something like this: he wakes up, gets ready, has his breakfast, and goes to school. Not to teach, but as a student.

Perhaps the oldest student in the Himalayan country of Nepal, Kami currently attends 10th-grade at Shree Kala Bhairab School, along with a bunch of 14 and 15-year-olds. A father of six and a grandfather to eight, Kami always wanted to study and become a teacher, Reuters reported on June 15. But poverty didn’t let that happen.

Kami says he goes to school, “to forget his sorrows.” He has been living alone in a one-room house in the Syangja district of Nepal since his wife died. A teacher at the school told Kami to attend classes, and provided stationery and a school uniform.

His classmates call him Baa, which means father in Nepali. “I used to think, ‘why is this old man coming to school to study with us?’” Sagar Thapa, a 14-year-old classmate of Kami told Reuters, “but as time passed I enjoyed his company.”

Here’s a look at Kami’s daily school routine, through the images of Reuters photojournalist Navesh Chitrakar.

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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami brushes his teeth as he gets ready for school.
Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami combs his beard.
Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami combs his beard as he gets ready for school.
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Kami collects his school uniform, which has been drying in the sun outside his home.
Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami’s school uniform hangs in his house.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami puts on a torn sock and t-shirt as he gets ready for school.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar.
Kami dons his uniform for school.
Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar.
Kami gets ready for school.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami’s school shoes.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami’s home after his wife’s death.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami, poses for a picture wearing his school uniform at the door of his one-room house.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami walks to school.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami rests while on his way to school.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami walks with his classmate Sagar Thapa, 14, to school.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami with his classmates.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
A teacher helps Kami to fill his registration form to apply for the upcoming School Leavers Certificate Exams.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
An English notebook belonging to Kami.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar.
Kami attends a class.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami plays volleyball with friends during a break at school.
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Kami, who is studying in tenth grade at Shree Kala Bhairab Higher Secondary School, answers a question from his teacher in class.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami and his classmates pose for a group picture in their classroom.
Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar.
Kami walks outside the school in Syangja, Nepal.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar.
Kami at his home, preparing dinner.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami drinks tea as he prepares dinner at house.
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Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Kami uses a torch to read a book during a power cut at his home.