Day 53: Bungoma, Kenya.
I ran in Kenya. With Kenyans.
It was a fundraiser for water cisterns to be placed at the Madeleine School – a first for the village. Those in the United States and Scandinavia registered, and Kenyans wore the race bibs. Every face was smiling at the thought of running the roads together. Young men in bare feet and grandmothers in long skirts and flip flops waited for the countdown. Even Evans was there, my Abraham Lincoln friend who walked with a cane but said he would finish the race (he did).
We ran as best we could along the ever-changing route, feet at once on solid ground or sinking into sticky mud.
We ran near schoolyards filled with curious cheering children and along orange clay roads carved into swirling patterns by afternoon storms. We ran through pastures and fields alive with crops.
We slowed to let the sugar cane trucks pass us on the rutted roads, and I caught a glimpse of her. She smiled and raised her hands to the sky in celebration. We had danced together, the grandmother and me. I had been to her home. We were kin now. She grabbed my hand and said, “You stay with me. We walk.”
“Take a picture, please.” She pointed again and again to the life around us. “Take a picture.”
There were no other runners. No other strangers from the other side of the world. And for just a moment, I was alone. Lost in the moment. With Kenya.
Women dancing on orange roads. Photos of people doing Thursday things. No hurry to move forward. No caring if we ever made it to the finish line. No fear in standing still and letting the moment overwhelm us all.
I think we need more Kenya in our life. Today. Are you ready?
Shoot like a Girl began as part of the #31days project. You can learn more about the “why” of my story and see my first 31 posts here. I’d love to stay in touch with you – be sure to subscribe to my blog and visit my writer’s page to get updates on stories and special projects, including a collaborative that will publish this year and a book about women who are fighting for change and beauty. Thank you for your encouragement!