I finished my 13th book for the #EmptyShelf challenge.
Hope Runs: An American Tourist, a Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption by Claire Diaz-Ortiz & Samuel Ikua Gachagua
I don’t remember who recommended this book to me; I think it was my husband. This is another book I got through PaperbackSwap, a resource that I love!
The story follows the life of the author, Claire, as she takes several “find yourself”-type trips with her friend Lara. The last trip has them ending in Kenya, where they board at an orphanage there. The children steal their hearts. They end up returning for a longer period to establish a running program for the orphans, who are in desperate need of extracurricular activities. The book alternates with Claire and a young man named Sammy, who lives at the orphanage, writing chapters. The kids eventually run a marathon, and Claire & Lara sponsor Sammy, so that he can come finish high school in America.
While the main author, Claire, is a Christian and this comes up several times, faith was not the main focus of the book. In fact, Claire’s traveling partner, Lara, was not a Christian. There is a funny story in the book where the kids ask Lara to pray for them before they run the marathon, not realizing that she might not believe in God. Rather than explain and possibly shatter their little worlds, she goes ahead and prays 🙂 In the orphans’ eyes, Lara will always be a Christian.
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, and I devoured it in a couple of days. I’m like that with well-written, biography-style stories (books #15 & #16, if I ever catch up on writing these posts, were also biographies/autobiographies). It is eye-opening, hearing about all the trials Sammy had to go through before he & his brother ended up in the orphanage. To some, landing in an orphanage might seem like a bad thing, but Sammy describes his emotions as “happy beyond control.” There, he is guaranteed food and a bed and a stable environment. That’s a lot for a boy whose father died unexpectedly and whose mother abandoned him and his siblings.
It’s eye-opening to read Claire’s story as well – to see what God can do when you are willing to open yourself to the needs around you.
Definitely recommend this book.