Lifesong Kenya · men of influence · Mission Field · Running for My Life · the making of Jim Buttons

Celebrating Bits of Success by Eating Baby Shrimps

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90% of boys in juvenile prison need footwear, especially during this cold season in Nairobi

I am preparing for another fundraising event in September where I look forward to retaining my silver medal in the sprint duathlon category during the Kericho Triathlon Series. Well, I don’t usually raise that much funding, but then again, my running, biking and swimming events have stopped being platforms to raise money.

Along the way, I became sucked into the thrill, challenge and becoming tough through running half marathons, running, biking and walking-running with my mountain bike on my shoulders. In the end, I have come to discover that God speaks to me during such events about what I need to do with the boys I mentor in juvenile prison and informal schools.

I also think a lot about my wife and the sacrifices she makes each day to support my work and vision for juvenile prisoners. Before I knew how to drive, she was the one who used to drive me to events, hand me my water and play the part of my cheering squad and first aider.

“I… Did… It!”

She kicks me out of bed at 4:30 am and orders me to go out there and run or bike! She is also there when I come back, open the door and say, “I… did… it!” With the passage of time, this has become our mantra.

This week hasn’t been different save for the fact that she has traveled and I am all alone at home, eating baby shrimps. Remember that memorable shrimping scene from the movie Forrest Gump? During their basic training, Private Bubba talks about the shrimp fishing business and recites every dish one can make with shrimp.

Well, I have come to discover that there seems to be no limit to what shrimp can do to every meal and I may end up eating shrimps 3 times a day for the next 14 days! This has also got me dreaming and thinking of going to the US to talk about boys, purpose, life and eat shrimps during the breaks.

In between eating baby shrimps, running, meeting boys and singing happy birthday to friends, I encountered bits of success this week. Calling parents, guardians and people the boys have wronged isn’t an easy task.

Most parents don’t usually expect someone to call asking them to visit their sons in prison. However, 20% of the parents I called yesterday have already made the visits after our previous calls. One boy has been forgiven and will be heading home soon. Another one has been sentenced for a few months.

60% of the parents picked my calls and agreed to visit their sons this weekend. Last but not least, a group of Christian lawyers will soon be representing boys who don’t have legal representation during court cases, thanks to Sam Akwale Ashene, who teaches university students law.

As I prepared to visit the boys in juvenile prison today, my heart was filled with joy, peace and gratitude. Even getting bus fare and credit to call parents is usually a huge miracle! It is a clear sign that God is working behind the scenes.

Ask a man who is and he will tell you what he does or what he owns

I got the above statement from reading Wayde Goodall’s ‘Why Great Men Fall (15 Winning Strategies to Rise Above it All)’ on my way to prison.  Because 90% of the boys I meet on a weekly basis don’t have a pair of slippers (did I mention they also need underwear and clothes to change?) or shoes to wear, their self-esteem is often at its lowest.

Can you imagine not having just a pair of slippers and having your feet and toes knock against rocks during this cold weather? Tell me, when was the last time you didn’t have a pair of clean underwear and warm clothes to wear?

I know it is cold and you could be thinking of grabbing a hot cup of dawa (a mixture of hot lemon, ginger and honey sold at Java Coffee House) or coffee to keep warm. But think about what a pair of slippers or crocks would mean to just one boy praying and trusting God for footwear. I hopefully wait to hear from you. In the meantime, allow me to continue polishing my baby shrimps, will ya?

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