by Glenn, Voluntourist, IHF Kenya
As a young and impressionable boy,I was fascinated by Kenya’s long distance runners. I would regularly sit in front of the television staring at those super-humans gliding with effortless composure over ridiculous distances. When I arrived in Nakuru, I was determined to find some young Kenyan lads to run with. I figured I would put on a running vest, get barefooted, and head off into the African sunset (hopefully past a few Lions, zebras, and spear-wielding Maasai).
After being at the center for a few days I announced that I was going for a run and eagerly asked the kids if any of them would like to join me. Two of the older fellas, Nelson and Peter, said that they would. I was excited. We started running laps of the IHF football pitch and within five minutes a crowd of the younger kids were running behind us. It was a real treat to see one of the youngest girls running hand-in-hand with Kamama, a 14 year-old who has been blind since birth. Kamama seemed so happy to be participating in the sporting festivities. The younger bunch may have been cutting corners and laughing at me, but their speed and determination were faultless.
After 5 laps, Nelson and Peter had lapped me and left me wishing I had not agreed to a 10-lap race.
After running, we played football (with a ball one of the boys had made from old plastic bags), stretched, and then feasted on some well deserved Ugali. Despite being embarrassed by my poor running performance, I was secretly happy to have run alongside some aspiring Kenyan athletes. Each day I continue to be blessed by the attitudes, resilience, and humor of the young people here.
There are countless lessons to learn, and countless joys to experience.