House building March 2021 review

Thanks to funds raised by those who had signed up to our 2020 trip which has been postponed due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, we were able to build SIMON & HIS FAMILY their new house in March 2021 in our GEF Iten village. We are honoured that their new house was be built in memory of the late GB international runner and truly wonderful man, Chris Smith. We thank his family for allowing us to remember Chris in this way.

30-year-old Simon Mwangi lived down the valley from Iten town with his mother and four young nieces and nephews. We first met Simon when we welcomed some Kenya Experience running guests to visit the previous house of a family our volunteers built a home for in 2016. We hadn’t expected to find anyone in the broken mud house and so were shocked that Simon and his family were living there. From this point on we got to know Simon well. He is a lovely young man and talented runner. The whole family had decided to move to Iten from Central Kenya so that he could focus on his training that in turn could give them the chance of life changing income. Shortly after his move to Iten he won the Ndakaini Half Marathon which should have meant he received the equivalent to £2,400 in prize money but the organisers refused to pay any of the winners. This was of huge disappointment to us all as the sum would have completely changed Simon and his family’s lives.

He has helped GEF and Kenya Experience guests on many occasions by running with them to show them different routes around Iten. To get to the starting points for his own training he runs several kilometres up the steep and busy rift valley road to Iten. He is a man with huge determination and spirit. Both GEF supporters and Kenya Experience guests have been able to provide his younger relatives Aidah, Aidah, Mary and Joseph with school fees, uniform and shoes. Thanks to fundraising for this house build Simon's mum and the youngsters no longer sleep in the bedroom between a broken single bed and the mud floor, and Simon sleeps in a bed rather than a living room floor.

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