Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to AIDS, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with seven other children and very little food. He entered Tumaini Children's Home seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.
When Claire Diaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mt. Kenya, then head back home to Maine. She entered Tumaini Children's Home seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek.
God had other plans.
Hope Runs is the emotional story of an American tourist, a Kenyan orphan, and the day that would change the course of both of their lives forever. It's about what it means to live in the now when the world is falling down around you. It's about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see. Most of all, it's about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.
- Hope Ran Out
Hope Runs was interestingly written with the two main characters alternating from chapter to chapter but I am not sure why it was written.
I can't relate to either of the characters, Claire, the apparently well to do college student from California or Sammy the poor almost orphan from Kenya. I just couldn't grasp how a young girl fresh from college could travel the world for the first few years after college with seemingly no means of support. Who can do that?
And of course even the poorest of the poor in the poor in the US have some much more than Sammy, the young man from Kenya.
But why was it written? The story is just beginning. Sammy is still a young man and may develop into to leader he aspires to be but as of now he is just getting started.
Maybe this story should have been put on hold for ten years until both characters are more mature.
There are certainly benefits to gain by looking at the clash of cultures and realizing we sometimes say things that are offensive without knowing it. In one case Claire remembers Sammy as being at 8th level when he has moved on to ninth and he is humiliated.
Then there is the time Sammy tells Claire she is nicely plump, which is a compliment to a Kenyan but not to most Western women. Good thing to remember when we are communicating across cultures.
Mainly though I kept getting hung up on all the jetting around the world. Let's go to a wedding in Argentina. Then back to Maine for a birthday party. Whoopee, who can do that.
I am not sure how to acknowledge the reading. There seemed to be a change in the tone when reader Tavia Gilbert went from Claire to Sammy but the reader had an annoying way of pronouncing the word clothes. I have spent time in 4 English speaking countries and I have never heard the word clothes pronounced as the reader did (pronounced with the "th" instead of a "z" sound). And when you are reading a book about a homeless boy growing up the word clothes is used quite often. Didn't anybody listen to this before it was marketed?
- Running, A Kenyan Boy and Two Young Ladies
Hope Runs by Claire Diaz-Ortiz & Sammy Ikua Gachagua is the parallel stories of Sammy and Claire as their lives intersect in a Kenyan orphanage. Claire and her friend Lara were American travellers on the last leg of an epic round the world adventure whereas Sammy is a poor, Kenyan orphan with very little hope. Their stories are told in alternating chapters and it makes for an intriguing book.
The majority of the book is devoted to the charity that Claire and Lara set up to help the Kenyan orphans in the form of running supplies as well as other help. It documents the early interactions, struggles and successes as well as her particular friendship and mother-like relationship with young Sammy.
I found this book very interesting but it isn't what I expected. As others have said I thought it would be a straight adoption story but it is so much more with plenty of twists and turns. It is quite amazing what these two young ladies have accomplished with their running program in Kenya. As someone with an IT background, I found Claire's back story quite fascinating – early employee of Twitter and getting the Pope involved in the platform (not mentioned in the book). Her travelling adventures outside of her African work are also very exciting.
The narrator was very good as it was both easy to understand and read at a very steady pace. However it would have been great to have a male narrator doing Sammy's part of the story. This technique has been used on other audio books and worked really well.
This book would be great for anyone thinking of a missions trip to Africa or just as an interesting adventure about a Kenyan Boy and two American young ladies.
This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
- Making a difference
finished listening to an audiobook called Hope Runs. It is by Claire Diaz-Ortiz and Sammy Ikua Gachagua. The audio is read by Tavia Gilbert.
This was an enjoyable book. I thought it was well written and liked how it had the perspectives of both Sammy and Claire. It made it enjoyable to me for the chapters to go back and forth between them to create their story. What I got from this story was that one person can make a difference. Claire made a difference in the life of Sammy (and others at the children's home) who in turn has made a difference to many through his volunteer work. Also, it is a reminder that God has plans for our lives that we can't always see or understand. Sammy endured great hardship through his young life with the loss of his father and then being abandoned by his mother, yet he goes on to get an education and have a productive life.
As the book ended I wondered what would be next for these two.
The narrator, Tavia Gilbert, did a nice job. Her voice was pleasant and easy to listen to. Also, she made changes between the parts that were Sammy and Laura. The audio ran smoothly.
This book was provided to me for my review by christianaudio Reviewers Program.
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- To Be Continued
I have quite enjoyed listening to this audio, which turned out to be different to what I was expecting. For some reason I thought this was about a young woman who adopts a young African boy whilst travelling through Kenya, and brings him home to live with her in the United States. Actually it's the ongoing life stories of an American woman and an African boy. I must admit that I enjoyed Sammy story far more than Claire's as the narration came across much better for him. In fact I think it would have worked even better if there had been a male narrator as well Tavia Gilbert's voice. I loved the wonder and excitement in Sammy's part of the story about things I take for granted everyday. I look forward to hearing more about him in the future. I think the print version would be just as good as this audio production. Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewer's Program for the free copy.