friendly fire · Harvest Thursday · James Ouma · Lifesong Kenya · men of influence · Mentoring boys in Kenya · Mission Field · Running for My Life · The gift of blindness · the making of Jim Buttons

Running for My Life Countdown: Cutting down the cost

As I continued preparing for my first fundraising half marathon, I realized I had to minimize the extra costs I was incurring. That meant doing away with my bi-weekly trips to the barbershop where I was spending $20 per month. Since I wasn’t earning any income getting a shave was becoming a real hassle that was getting harder by the day. I just had to get my own shaving machine.

My quest to get one ended at the Rupu store where I bought my own shaving machine. Since I shave bald, it didn’t take me long to figure out how to get the job done. However, it wasn’t free of drama. One evening, I arrived at my favourite barbershop and asked the barber to shave me using my brand new machine! I also asked him to teach me how to use and maintain it.

Even though I now had my own shaving machine and shaved at home, it wasn’t as easy as I had thought. However, I had time and was determined to get through the whole process without harming myself. With time, I became so good at it it wasn’t easy to tell if I wasn’t going to the barbershop anymore.

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Shaving myself involves a lot of looking into the mirror

Making baby steps

Shaving myself became part and parcel of sources of inspiration. I started thinking and putting everything in perspective. I remember the first time I shaved myself and shared my experience with children at Five Star Academy in Kangemi. Most of them were shocked to hear what I was doing, while the rest doubted whether it was indeed true.

The one who were shocked ended up learning about how I was living life to the fullest. My work was already becoming too demanding in terms of the expenses that I was now taking care of. And now that I wasn’t walking on foot anymore to carry out Lifesong Kenya’s weekly activities, I had to find a way of getting bus fare. The moment the children discovered I was shaving myself in order to save money and use it as bus fare, their eyes opened to the things they could start cutting on in order to save money.

As the Shompole Marathon drew near, I started doubting myself. I started questioning my intentions, motives and strength to carry on. I discovered there was a huge difference between seeing a signpost while travelling inside a vehicle and running the same distance. My dream of raising funds through running began melting away.

I soon discovered that Ololua isn’t that close to Ngong Town and the signpost I had seen on my way from Matasia wasn’t that near. I would leave home at 4:45 am and by the time I reached Matasia Shopping Centre, huge drops of sweat washed my face and all I wanted to do was flag the next matatu heading to Ngong Town. But with no phone, ID and bus fare I knew I had to keep running.

There was a time a mineral water truck, bearing a large water bottle, passed me and I felt so thirsty my mind screamed ‘STOP!’. I wanted to crawl into a ditch and go to sleep. I wanted to give up by the time I saw ‘the church on the rock‘. But I had to keep running. And when I eventually reached where Ngong Stadium is being built, relief flooded my whole body.

Though the  stadium was still under construction, I saw myself running into the stadium as the jubilant crowd kept screaming my name. I also kept thinking about hundreds of children who were praying for my wife and I. I had known most of these children for years and could see their faces as I thought about giving up. I knew I was going to make it. All I needed to do was keep believing and keep running towards my goal.

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