Since 1902

Bishop uses birthday gifts to build granny a house

By Julius Chepkwony - Jun 22nd 2022
The house belonging to 86-year-old Paulina Teriki during the official opening at Kapkitet Village in Eldama Ravine on June 18, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

To many, birthdays are merry-making events where gifts are exchanged between friends and relatives; and some go for holidays.

​After many years of spending thousands of shillings on her birthday parties and keeping gifts for herself, Bishop Margaret Tanui decided to celebrate differently this year as she turned 60.

​Last Saturday at Kapkitet village in Eldama Ravine Constituency, Baringo County, Bishop Tanui decided to gift her aunt a house she had constructed using cash gifts and resources she had mobilised on her 59th and 60th birthday celebrations.

​She handed the Sh850,000 two-bedroom house to Pauline Teriki, 86, in a colourful ceremony.

​Neighbours danced and made merry as Teriki alighted from a vehicle decorated with balloons.

​The car pulled up and the air was filled with ululations. While women sang and danced, Gogo, as she is commonly referred to, was handed a bouquet of flowers by young girls who were waiting, before she was led to her new house.

Despite her age, Gogo shook her legs as she tried hard to keep up with the rhythm of the music that was playing.

Teriki, a mother of four, said she never believed such a time would come. ​She said what happened was more of a dream and she was yet to believe.

​“It is agonising and shameful when a family has no house. I cannot explain the feeling and I never thought I would ever own such a house,” she said.

​Tanui said she visited Teriki 37 years ago and the state of her grass-thatched house was appalling. She said she wondered how she was living in the house as the roof was leaking.

​“The house was perforated, the walls had nothing to cover it and anyone passing by could see her from outside. It was pathetic and I thought I would give the little I had to support her,” she said.

​She said she promised to buy her some iron sheets to build a semi-permanent house. However, she left before she could deliver on her promise, adding that things never worked out as she had expected.

​Tanui said she forgot about it and moved on. Later on, she left and settled in the United Kingdom.

​“In January 2019, my brother called me and informed me about the promise I had made to the lady. I remembered and thought what would have happened if I did not fulfill it,” she said.

She wanted to build a semi-permanent structure but a voice kept informing her justice would not have been served after such a long wait.

​April 25 is Tanui's birthday and she has lived to celebrate it.

​“Usually, during my birthday people bring me gifts, money, and other goodies. I announced to anyone planning to buy me a gift that this time I had a project. The support was immense and people gave what they had,” she said.

​Tanui said she formed a group and tried to pool resources. Initially, the plan was to build a Sh500,000 house but it rose to Sh850,000. Well-wishers are still contributing to furnishing the house.

​She said the project was not for Teriki but the community, adding that the idea was to set an example to the people that they can change someone’s life.

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