Friday, February 29, 2008

Kenya Update From Paul Koech

Paul Koech (26:36 10,000m, 2:07:07 marathon) sent us this report from Kenya on Wednesday, one day before the leaders of the country’s rival political parties signed a power-sharing agreement. A captain in the Kenyan Army, Koech founded Silgich Hill Academy in 2004. The school provides free primary education for more than 150 students.

Students at Silgich Academy. Photo courtesy of www.photorun.net.We are fine, although with some tension in relation to the security state of the country. Silgich Academy is going on well, although most of the parents were affected by the violence after the disputed election results of two months ago. All of the school staff are safe and well, but some students transferred, for their parents feared that the situation in the country would deteriorate into an out-of-control ethnicity-based conflict.

There is only one student, Kenneth Ngetich, whose father was shot by police along Eldoret-Nairobi road while he was walking to the shopping center. The boy is among the students sponsored by Mr D’s class [at a Massachusetts elementary school]. I will send you his picture and some of the pictures of the affected area.

The main problem we are facing is the feeding of persons who ran away from the clash-torn areas, and payment of school fees for parents who are mainly farmers and were not able to sell their produce or had it destroyed. We are struggling to sustain ourselves with the little we have. Our neighboring academy was closed, for they did not have the resources to continue.

Kenya as it should be. Photo by Tim Nelson.The closest area to Silgich that was affected is 6 kilometers from here, a shopping center where houses and shops were burned and destroyed, for it was said that these were people who supported the government. The effect in Eldoret is substantial in areas outside the town. All parts of the country, except Central and Eastern provinces, had a considerable share of destruction of properties due to anger of the ODM’s [the opposition party led by Raila Odinga] supporters and sympathizers.

Despite all of these problems we are optimistic for the future. I know that as athletes, we always considered ourselves to be one Kenya. I have confidence that in the end we will again return to the state where we are all proud to be Kenyans.

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2 Responses to “Kenya Update From Paul Koech”

  1. scott says:

    Hello sandsea. Ben Maiyo is running Rotterdam. Baba, Cheboiboch and the rest of the crew running Boston are due to arrive in Boulder in late March for their last block of training. We’ll have video reports on chasingkimbia.com at that time, and you can be sure we’ll be getting as much info as we can from them about how the post-election violence affected the running scene.

  2. sandsea says:

    Matt,

    Any word on Ben Maiyo, Baba Kigora and everyone else at Iten? I wonder if the violence in Kenya has stopped their training. It would be a shame if so!!