Running for My Life: Countdown

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Cynthia during a Lifesong Kenya session at Pillars of Hope Children’s Centre, Kitengela

2016 is coming to an end, and what a year! It is time for me to look back at the inspiration behind this year’s theme: running for my life. Running for my life was purely intended for fundraising purposes. However, and with time, I realized it was going to be something bigger than what I was aiming to achieve.

I realized I was going to learn valuable lessons about my manhood, ministry and money-making. It soon became the 3Ms that are defining my life, marriage, aspirations and life purpose. I will be posting the lessons I have learned throughout 2016 during this countdown. So, how and why did running for my life begin?

 

Running for my life began in July 2012 when I met 100 boys in juvenile prison. I was working as an untrained TV producer at KBC TV then. I had weekly meetings with boys every Friday at Nairobi Remand & Allocation Prison, Industrial Area. All I had was a burning desire to give back to the society.

Little did I know that what began as a weekly session was soon going to be something that was going to turn my life upside down! When you seek to spend your time, energy and money to empower any group of vulnerable people in the society, a lot happens. For starters, people with the right resources, connections and power start doubting your intentions, beliefs and aspirations. That is what happened to me.

“Why are you working with boys in prison?” my supervisor asked.

“I’ve always wanted to mentor boys,” I replied.

“You cannot be the answer to issues that have been caused by men,” she replied.

And because she knew I had grown up without a father-figure in my life, this statement cut into my heart like a blunt rusty knife. In the end, I was given an ultimatum and told to choose between my job – where I earned a salary – and mentoring the boys – where I was earning nothing. In fact, I was spending the little I was earning to sustain my work at the prison.

“I am going to take time off the whole of this year so I can reflect on what to do next,” I added as we went to bed.

Six months down the line, I quit my job to focus on working with boys in juvenile prison through Lifesong Kenya. My decision to quit was informed by my belief that I was going to earn – enough – income from my writing and reading club. I was already in discussion with NPC Buruburu Academy about having my reading club at the school. I knew my income was taken care of.

Fast forward to January 2016

I was still broke with no source of income. However, I was now married and have responsibilities to take care of. I had already had programs and activities in two more institutions; Dagoretti Girls Rehabilitation Centre and Five Star Academy. Getting resources was getting harder by the day while finding people to partner in my vision was becoming an elusive dream that was turning into a nightmare.

I was ready to reconsider my dream and vision for Lifesong Kenya. I wanted to quit and focus on making money. I was confused, hurt, frustrated and disappointed. I kept asking myself why I needed to keep going and whether or not, I was doing the right thing either way.

“I don’t have what it takes anymore,” I told my wife on January 1 this year. “I am thinking about disbanding Lifesong and forgetting about it.”

“Why are you feeling like this?” she asked.

“I don’t just don’t have the energy to do it,” I said.

“Why don’t you think about what you really want to do before you commit to giving up?” she suggested.

“Okay,” I said. “I am going to take time off the whole of this year so I can reflect on what to do next,” I added as we went to bed.

Running for My Life continues tomorrow…

 

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