Running for my life countdown: Finding Nemo

Six pack1
Working with boys keeps me grounded and everything comes to a standstill

A few days to the Shompole Wildlife Marathon, I experienced a big breakdown. I didn’t have the energy and the will to continue thinking about the marathon.I was going to use my running to raise funds for Lifesong Kenya and I doubted its success. I know what the likes of Margaret Kenyatta, our nation’s first lady has achieved through her marathons and what the Stanchart Marathon has enabled to do through running.

Compared to them, I looked like a small fish trying to find his way in an expansive ocean filled with killer-sharks. I was finally swimming with sharks and didn’t want to be out there, even with Dory by my side. True, and what a blessing, that I had managed – by God’s grace – to find my own Dory after getting married. However, marriage brought another reality that being single didn’t come with.

Though my wife was taking care of stuff in the house, I felt inadequate. I wanted to be the one taking care of her. And because I wasn’t earning from my writing, reading club and didn’t have partners for Lifesong Kenya, my inadequacies multiplied a million fold. Of course, I had always wanted and desired to earn an income from my business ideas and channel a percentage of it into my charity work. And much as it was becoming apparent that it wasn’t going to be easy, all I had was faith, belief and hope.

Finding Nemo

My work with boys has enabled me to do much more than rescue and empower boys. I have ended up finding myself. I grew up with a burning desire to find a father-figure to guide me through life. This being so, I never knew I would be able to empower, leave along becoming a father-figure to boys. In fact, I got scared the first time I heard a boy refer to me as Papa. I was so scared and got more scared when I didn’t find a place to hide from a role that was threatening to swallow me alive.

I started working in juvenile prison with nothing other than the desire to reach out to one boy at a time. The fact that I was suddenly working with hundreds of them – and with no source of income – scared the living lights out of me. It was as if – without knowing how to swim – someone had pushed me into the deep end of a swimming pool and now I had to keep moving my hands and feet in order to not drown.

There were days I would leave my friend’s house in the morning and come back in the evening having mixed feelings. On one hand, I was happy that I was meeting the boys at the prison, following up with their families and the people they had wronged through crime. On the other hand, I was sad that after experiencing all the joy of doing what I had done through the day, I didn’t have a home and had to depend on a friend for a place to call home.

“James, where are you?” my friend asked, not for the first time. “Don’t you know it is already 10 PM?”

“I am in Kayole,” I replied.

“Kayole?” he asked. “You were supposed to be here before 8 PM! Next time you are not here by 8 just find another place to sleep!” he added.

“Okay, I understand,” I replied without understanding.

Shompole Wildlife Marathon

The experiences I had gone through, all the highs and lows – came alive as my wife escorted to Galleria where I was to board the tour bus to Shompole, for the marathon. I bid my Dory good bye and waited for the tour bus. I had changed, several times – from my original plan to run 21K to 10k after undergoing surgery. Little did I know that I was going to undertake what I had feared throughout my preparation.


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