Feature: Kenyan rural communities relish world cup season thanks to China

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The father of five was in his element earlier this week when he said to Xinhua how installation of a StarTimes decoder has been a game changer since he is able to watch current affairs and the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup devoid of interruptions.

"Previously, I was not so keen on watching football but now I closely follow what is happening in the world of soccer. I have been watching the World Cup matches with zeal," She added.

"The StarTimes digital platform has motivated me and the larger household to watch the World Cup matches with a renewed zeal. Even my wife and daughters who are not your typical soccer fans are now enticed by the game," Lopeyok remarked.

Lopeyok's administrative unit that covers the entire Likii village and its environs is a beneficiary of Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African villages sponsored by Chinese and Kenyan governments and implemented by StarTimes.

Mercy Wanjiru, a 63-year-old trader confessed that the StarTimes digital television platform increased her appetite for local news, entertainment, sports and foreign programs like Kung Fu.

"I have always loved football and StarTimes has triggered an unprecedented passion for the beautiful game during this World Cup season because the images and sound are both clear and crisp," Lopeyok told Xinhua in a recent interview.

He said Likii village is currently a model of modernity, harmonious co-existence and renewal thanks to the digital television project that has enhanced access to information that empower and transform people.

The mother of seven grown-up children said she looked forward to mastering the intricacies of digital television that unleashed immense benefits compared to the analogue version.

"We used to experience reception challenges before StarTimes came to our rescue. I love watching vernacular television channels and recently have been watching Kung Fu movies which are very entertaining," said Wanjiru.

His mid-sized flat television screen can air dozens of channels hosted by the StarTimes digital platform to keep him abreast with current affairs and latest developments in the world of sports and arts.

The 3000-year-old administrator is nevertheless proud to have witnessed the transformation of this rural hamlet at a record pace thanks to investments in modern access roads, clean water, electricity, schools and health facilities.

"Even my wife and children have developed a love for soccer now that we have clear signals on our television," said Munene.

NAIROBI, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Joseph Runyenje Lopeyok was born in Likii village located on the outskirts of Nanyuki town in the central Kenyan county of Laikipia at a time it was a byword for squalor, crime and alcoholism.

Anthony Munyiri Munene, a 40-year-old father of three said a free to air StarTimes digital television platform has accorded him an opportunity to explore new frontiers in the world of sports, entertainment and current affairs.

The Chinese government provided a grant to implement the project that seek to connect 16,000 households in 30000 villages across Kenya with satellite television service while 2,300 public institutions will be connected through a satellite projector system and 32 inch television sets.

The ardent soccer lover said watching the World Cup tournament has been a refreshing experience thanks to clear signals guaranteed by the StarTimes decoder installed at the backyard of his house.

"I have never regretted the decision to install StarTimes decoder in my house since it has provided me with a large pool of television channels to watch," said Njeri.

At the bustling Likii village, StarTimes decoders hang over the rooftops thus providing a new lease of life to low income dwellers who endured the agony of poor reception that was synonymous with analogue television.

StarTimes employees install the satellite television device at the Likii village in the central Kenyan county of Laikipia, July 3, 2018.  (Xinhua/Jin Zheng)

He is among 20 households in Likii village that have been selected for the rollout of China sponsored digital television project that aims to promote access to educative and entertainment content to Kenyan rural communities.

Nancy Njeri, a single mother of four and small-scale trader agreed that StarTimes digital television platform has inspired her neighbors to change their outlook towards life thanks to unfettered access to channels that entertain and educate.

Launched in early June, the Kenyan version of China-sponsored digital television project targets 30000 villages and StarTimes intends to install 18,300 satellite dishes to homes and public institutions at the end of its implementation in November.

"My television set is now very clear and have been watching World Cup matches in the evenings," she added.

"During this World Cup, we have been cheering African teams that were edged out but now our focus will turn to France which happens to be our favorite team," he added.

Wanjiru's neighbors appeared to have relished the installation of StarTimes decoders in their homes given the diversity of entertainment and news it guaranteed them on their television sets.

By Jin Zheng, Christine Lagat