Patricia Cherop, 24, is the wife of Uganda Olympics gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich. They have two children, Eliud Musao of one-and-a-half years and Esther Chebet, 4. Daniel Edyegu talked to her about their married life.
Who is Patricia Cherop?
I grew up in a troubled family. My father, Michael Mongin and mother, Beatrice Zana, were always fighting and they subsequently divorced in 1996. I stayed with my father in Kapkwai, Cheema sub-county in Kapchorwa district. In 2003, I dropped out of Primary Seven in Kapkwai Primary School. I met Kiprotich in 2005.
What attracted you to him?
In our area, people usually approach women using go-betweens. But when he approached me directly, I was impressed. I admired his courage. He had a farm near Kapkwai Exploration Centre (owned by the Uganda Wildlife Authority), where he used to work. In March 2006, we started living together as husband and wife and arranged a customary marriage ceremony. His parents and brothers warmly welcomed me and have been helpful in our marriage. I also think I easily bonded with my in-laws because we are all Catholics.
What kind of man is Kiprotich?
He is a hardworking and loving man. He is also prayerful. Everyday, he wakes up at 5:00am to train. Whenever he goes for national and international races, he saves some money to buy meat and clothes for the family.
What is his favourite food?
Beans and posho, irish potatoes and sojet, a wild bitter vegetable, which I gather from Mt. Elgon Forest National Park.
Kiprotich is now Uganda's golden boy. Aren't you scared that town girls are going to steal him from you?
I am not scared. For the years we have been together as husband and wife, I have come to understand him better. I know his likes and dislikes.
Would you like your children to follow in his footsteps?
No. Athletics can be a source of livelihood, but since I dropped out of Primary Seven and my husband also dropped out of Senior Five at Sebei College Tegeres, my ambition is to ensure that my children get the best education in life. My dream is to see them study in good schools and get formal jobs. If they must follow in their father's footsteps, this should be after achieving good academic qualifications. However, I pray that at least one of them follows in their father's footsteps.
How about you, do you plan to go back to school?
I don't think I can return to school and continue from where I stopped. Maybe my husband should, now that his achievement has cast him into the spotlight, where he has to speak English. However, the final decision on that lies with him.
What would you do if you found him cheating?
Eh! Now you are getting into private matters. Don't you think that is between me and him? I won't answer that one.