The ride that changed the way I view my work with vulnerable groups

Half Way Cycle 2018: Day 2 Aloe Park, Naivasha to Gees Inn, Nakuru Distance Cycled: 205 KM

This is a continuation of How My Maiden Cycling Adventure Unfolded. For the next one week I will be sharing what happened during my maiden 500 KM bike ride to raise funds for my work with boys in juvenile prison.

The ride that changed the way I view my work with vulnerable groups
Don’t be fooled by their smiles: the young men wearing green ran ahead of our car while we cycled to keep up

I called Bryan Awuonda, the founder of House of Plenty in Nakuru. He was on top of the hill in Nakuru’s sprawling forested hill. Unknown to us. it was going to be a struggle reaching where Bryan and his boys were.

By this time, the morale of our cycling team was running low. Tempers were beginning to fray and I was beginning to lose my cool. While I had the motivational to cycle, run or walk to the end of the earth to keep my promise of meeting exceptional young men, I had no business forcing the same down the team’s throat. I heard their constant complaints and silent grumbling behind my back.

As we rode towards the roundabout that leads to Mololine’s office, traffic almost came to a standstill. We dodged and weaved our way through it all and managed to find Mololine Shuttle office.

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.

— Charles M. Schulz

The ride that changed the way I view my work with vulnerable groups

House of Plenty
As we waited for Bryan to send someone to show us the way to his House of Plenty projects something beautiful happened…

The young men Bryan had sent to pick us up had not reached the Mololine Shuttle office. This made things worse and it would have escalated had something beautiful not happened.

As we packed out bikes by the road, a 17-year-old young man brought his road bike to an abrupt stop.

“Where are you guys from and going?” he asked.

“We’re from Nairobi and cycling to Migori Town to raise funds for our work with boys in juvenile prison,” I replied.

“Where are your offices and how can I join your team?” he asked.

I still didn’t have a team, yet. But it is something I had been mulling over for the last one year. Was this a sign that I should start recruiting? It turns out that the young man comes to Nairobi to study and is in Form 3 this year.

“Well you can start by giving me your number and we can pick it from there,” I said.

Wait… let me call him first.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

— Nelson Henderson.

His phone is off. I will call later and speak to his dad.

Behold, a pastor gives his life to Christ

We parted ways with the first member of our cycling team when Bryan’s boys came. It soon became an ‘are we there yet’ cycling exercise. We puffed and huffed as Bryan’s boys kept running ahead of us and saying, “we’re almost there!”

“That’s what you said 5 minutes ago!” I shouted, panting and trying all I could to keep up. “I wish I had known it wasn’t going to be easy,” I heard myself whisper.

By the time we arrived at our destination, darkness had descended and swallowed us. All we could see were our bikes’ rear lights. There were dry thorns at the edge bordering the forested complex where Bryan is erecting an arboretum.

We were awed by the tree houses that Bryan and his team are creating. The story behind it, is equally amazing. Bryan is seeking to create Nakuru’s first arboretum and theme park. His team is made up of former street boys who felt the full brunt of police arrests and prison in their formative years.

One of them narrated how his family failed to visit him while he was in prison and how that hurt. As he narrated what happened many years back, his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down in refreshed pain. Though he swallowed and pushed it deeper into his subconscious mind, I knew he was hurting. Deeply.

O the Blood of Jesus Christ that washes as white as snow

It was not until we were just about to leave Bryan’s group that I realized why going to the hills was important. One of the young men – who the rest of the young men were calling ‘pastor’ – gave his life to Christ!

Let me explain, okay?

In prison – and I think elsewhere – the person who usually leads prayers and offers to read the Bible is often referred to as ‘pastor.’ And so while Earnest Okello was sharing the word of God, there was a stirring in the heart of the young man who has been pastoring Bryan’s group.

We didn’t know this until Earnest made an altar call. And kept rejoicing, thanking God for one more saved soul. Things were okay until we set off for the hotel when all hell broke loose. I was so angry I didn’t know whether the team would be motivated for our ride from Nakuru to Kericho which was actually going to be the longest leg.

I was happy that a young man had given his life to Christ. However, riding into the hills resulted into us cycling into the darkness. The team was tired, agitated and mad. Only time would tell whether we were going to be intact after this fall out. No one said a word as we silently cycled to our hotel…

This is how my maiden cycling adventure unfolded continues…

Running and having to deal with past failures has prepared me to become tough
Riding extra kilometres to meet Bryan Awuonda and his group was the most beautiful thing that happened to us
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