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Serena Busy As She Wraps Up Visit To Africa

Monday, November 17, 2008

Activity came to a stop in the sleepy village of Matooni on the foothills of Manooni hills as Serena Wiliams, the world number two ranked tennis player, opened a secondary school named after her in the area on Friday.

Williams, who was accompanied by the Minister for Education, Professor Sam Ongeri, and the area MP, Peter Kiilu, could not hide her joy for being involved in the project.

“I would like to contribute more to education projects in Africa, and I really want to thank the Hewlett Packard Company for choosing to partner with me in this noble project,” Williams told the ecstatic crowd.

The school, which has been named after the player, was built in record one month, and is fully equipped with a computer laboratory and Internet facilities for the students.

Ongeri lauded the tennis star for her efforts, and requested more people to contribute in making Kenya’s free secondary education a success, noting that secondary school enrolment had gone up in the country over the past three years.

Spends Saturday At The Sadili Oval Tennis Academy in Nairobi

Serena Williams, the world number two ranked tennis player, was quite at home on the court as she took children through the paces at Sadili Oval Tennis Academy in Nairobi on Saturday.

Serena who was accompanied by Sports Minister Hellen Sambili to the venue in Langata, first watched the young players go through their practise session as she stood by to give them a few tips.

She then took to the court and gave instructions to a select group of girls and boys, after which they played a round of tennis doubles.

Serena, who played for the better part of the morning with children who range from the age of eight to 18 years, expressed her satisfaction at the reception that she has so far received in Kenya.

“Kenya has beautiful people and I plan to come back here to be a part of projects such as tennis coaching. The spirit of Kenyans is second to none,” she said.

The children who had the opportunity to play tennis with Serena only had praises for the sports star who took time to show them basic moves in the game.

“My dream has come true today. I always dreamt of playing with her on the same court, and possibly hit the ball down on her,” said 16-year-old Terry Odera, who had the rare chance to share the court with Serena.

“I will now focus on more serious training in order to make it in the sport like her. But I have also learnt that being a celebrity means living your life in the public life, which is not at all easy. That’s the part I did not quite enjoy.”

On her part, 17-year-old Sakina Nshirimana learnt plenty of skills during her half hour on the court with the fashion and tennis queen.

“I have learnt how to control the ball and make more rallies without making as many mistakes. My dream to see her has come more than true and now my focus is to be like her. I think it can come true too,” an elated Nshirimana said.

Serena enjoyed every moment on the court as she clapped and gestured happily to encourage the youngsters.

“She (Serena) makes the game look so easy to play,” commented one of the boys who train at the academy.

“She has proved to Kenyan youth that a person can succeed both academically and in sports with self discipline and trust in God,” said Sambili.

The Serena entourage leaves the country on Sunday for Senegal, where she will initiate the building of more schools. One school that she has built, and is named after her, is already up and running in Makueni District.

Source - The Daily Nation
Photos By Mohammed Amin

Posted by Shelia

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