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Kenyan student who drowned in Australia laid to rest in Eldoret

A Sombre mood engulfed a village in Uasin Gishu county as a Kenyan student who drowned in Australia was laid to rest at her family farm in Moiben.

Ms Sharon Kigen, 28, reportedly died on February 21, 2023, two days before she was to start her classes at Catholic University in North Sydney where she had secured a study scholarship.

She had been in the foreign country for just three months.

Her parents and siblings and friends paid glowing tribute to the deceased.

“You never bid us farewell nor said goodbye to us. You were gone before I knew it and only God knows why. . . in my heart you hold a place no one else can fill,” said Rael Kigen, the mother of the deceased.

The family, close relatives and friends described the deceased as humble and hardworking.

Hundreds of mourners joined the family to mourn the demise of the student and accord her a befitting send-off.

Kenyans living in Australia recalled the last moments of the deceased before the deceased drowned.

“We were close and walked together to work. On that day at noon, I called her and said she was okay and promised that we would meet in the evening but she didn’t make it. We really feel sorry for the family,” said Verah Magut, a resident of Sydney, Australia.

She was in Australia to pursue a master’s degree in ICT at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney. She drowned and died after she went on a swimming expedition with her friends. Efforts by the Australian pirates to save her were futile.

The Kenyatta University and Kapsabet Girls alumnus was set to start her classes on February 23, two days before she drowned.

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Her body was retrieved from River Georges Macquarie by emergency services officers.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii and his deputy John Barorot said the county has a high number of students studying abroad.

Mr Bii explained that the airlifting of students to study abroad would enable them to improve the local economies and transform their livelihoods.

Mr Bii also used the platform to advise students studying the abroad to stick to their culture not embrace LBTQ lifestyle.

“The issue is alien to us and it is an abomination that goes against our cultural and religious beliefs. I want to urge everyone to shun it,” added the governor.

According to Paul Kuto, the family spokesman, the media played a critical role in highlighting the story after the family requested well-wishers to raise monies to transport the last remains of the deceased.

“Without the support of the media I don’t know how we could have managed to raise over Sh4million that was needed to airlift the body. We also appreciate the neighbours for the support they have accorded us,” said Mr Kuto.

The family had appealed for financial help to bring their kin’s body back home, after spending heavily on her travel expenses.

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