Day 444: Coaches, Texts, and No Lara

by claire a. williams


In the past 20 months of spending nearly all my time with Lara and only Lara (insert 170 orphans into the equation for second half of 2007), I usually forget how reliant on her I have become. However, when she leaves for exactly 11 hours and counting to pick up her parents (and lost volunteer luggage) in Nairobi, and approximately eight million important things happen, I remember. Luckily, though, we have cell phones.  


Today, I have tried to keep Lara abreast of my activities via text messaging. Like when four potential running coaches showed up unannounced to do impromptu interviews for the suddenly coveted position of training our up-and-coming Tumaini elite. Although I wish it were solely due to the goodwill of medaling Kenyan runners to coach orphans, I worry that the Runner’s World article is the culprit, and that there is a small rumor floating around in the regional coaching circles that Hope Runs has monies that it most definitely does not.


Although we are thankful for the addition of Runner’s World into the lives of the Tumaini kids and Hope Runs, like every blessing it does come with its own set of issues. Today’s was when I had to upload a video for the new weekly online video diary series the Hope Runs kids are doing with Runner’s World. The current, cheaper cell-phone internet is so hideous that a shrunken 3 minute 11 mg file takes four hours to get up. Needless to say, it has already failed twice – at 3.5 hours each time, mind you – so I’m hoping it’ll go through for the third time while I sleep. Runner’s World, though, is looking into buying DSL for Tumaini – which would change all that.


If Lara were here, we would have discussed all these things in detail one hundred times over. Several of those hours taking place after the volunteers and the Tumaini kids go to sleep. Instead, though, I can send her midnight texts across Kenya that give the briefest of insight into these issues. Which I’m doing right now, as I sit at the Tumaini guest house down the road from the orphanage, where all the volunteers and I came for the night with the three Tumaini girls heading to college soon. Although they came for a sleepover under the guise of teaching us wazungu to cook, I mostly remember the eating.


But I’ve got to get back to my texting…


Claire to Lara: Coaches abound and Nancy (the maid) is reading Kate (the volunteer’s) diary…

Lara to Claire: What??? I feel like one of our friends reading one of your cryptic emails.

Claire to Lara: Clarification: Everyone wants to coach orphans and the maid still sucks.

Lara to Claire: Maybe Kate can start a dialogue with Nancy via the diary…dear diary, I wonder what my maid is smoking?





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