Sammy Kitula| 24 February 2010| Daily Nation on the Web|
It was double joy for the residents of Kilili Village in Eastern Province on Tuesday. They came face to face with Serena Williams, the tennis icon they only see on television.
And there were three helicopters.
“I can’t believe it. I had never heard of her [Serena], neither had I seen an helicopter before,” said Ndunge Kithuku, a Form One student at the newly inaugurated Serena Williams Wee Secondary School. “I will never forget this day; my birthday present has come two weeks early.”
She wears many hats: from world renowned tennis player to model to philanthropist, Serena has it all. And this time in Wee, Matiliku Location, Makueni District, she was wearing the philanthropy hat.
Second secondary school
Serena was inaugurating her second secondary school, the Serena Williams Wee Secondary School, in as many years.
On November 14 last year, Serena opened her first local secondary school, in Matooni, about 50 kilometres from Matiliku.
Despite ruling the tennis courts, Serena couldn’t help but gyrate her hips in harmony with the Kamba rhythm that reverberated across the small dusty school which bears her name. Never mind the tennis great couldn’t make anything from the songs. But songs soothe, so they say.
Just like her last visit to Kenya, the entire local population was mesmerised by Serena’s visit to this area that does not have a tennis court. Even TV sets, on which they could follow her exploits on court, are far between. But that didn’t matter; Serena was in town!
See her ‘live’
“I only read about her in newspapers. I didn’t imagine I could see her ‘live’,” said Mwanzia Muia, who lives near the school.
Close to 3,000 people attended the ceremony. But it was the children’s dancing, songs and poems that excited everyone. As the children belted out the ballads praising their 28-year-old heroine, Serena could not help but keep smiling.
“I’m very happy to be here and, besides winning the Australian Open, this is more victory for me,” said Serena. “I will always hold this school dear to me and I hope that I’ll get more chances to continue with this venture.”
Deserve special guest
The multitude of photographers clicking away to capture her every moment and the myriad eyes trained on the high profile visitor initially made her uneasy.
Donning a black dress and draped in a leso, Serena arrived in the lead chopper as the villagers gazed at the sky, wondering what good their sleepy village had done to deserve this special guest.
After the entertainment and lengthy speeches, Serena inaugurated the school and took students through the maiden computer and Internet lessons.
On Wednesday, Serena will give a public lecture at Strathmore University from 11am, before visiting the Sadili Oval Centre in Nairobi at 2.40pm to conduct a tennis clinic for children before concluding her three-day Kenyan visit.
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