On Realizing That I'm Not Doing Much

James Ouma
Posted February 9, 2020 from Kenya

Hello all and happy 2020!

I have been quiet due to lots of things that are happening to me and in our program for at-risk male teens who are in conflict with the law. First, my application to travel to the US where I was scheduled to give a talk at a conference was denied. The consulate officer mentioned that my income was too low for me to travel to be given a visa.

Visa Application Rejection

I was heartbroken and felt disappointed.

"I spend most of my time and the little money I get on Lifesong Kenya's programs," I explained.

"I'm afraid sir, you don't qualify at this time," she replied.

I picked the pink rejection slip and walked out of the room. I picked my valuables and walked out of the embassy. My feet felt heavy, as if I was dragging heavy metal on the ground. Much as working with at-risk male teens is fulfilling and I don't mind spending my time, resources and money on the program, I didn't know it would be a cause to deny me a visa.

I hailed a taxi and went home. But I couldn't stay in the house. I wanted to keep myself busy, in order to forget what had just happened. I went to the university where my wife lectures to pick computers that had been donated to our program. After packing the computers in our car, my wife offered to buy lunch. It was the first time that we ate lunch in silence. She kept asking what happened and i promised to tell her later. I munched my food in silence, fighting a battle I knew I was going to lose.

The moment we settled into the car and she began driving, I broke down. I wept until I couldn't weep no more.

"There's a reason why your visa application was rejected," my wife said. "We may not know it right now, but with time we will."

The Passing On of My Wife's Mom

On October 31, 2019 I visited my wife's mom who had been hospitalized, not for the first time that year.  Though she was losing her memory, she remembered that my wife and I were going to travel and celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. She also remembered that I was working on a video to send to the conference that was going to happen the following day. I bid her good bye and went back home.

My wife and I left Nairobi that evening - each of us had spent time with our mom. On this very night, I was supposed to be on the airplane to the US. My wife was happy that we were going to spend time together for our anniversary. Our bus was almost half way through our journey when we received a phone call. It was at 1 AM.

My wife's had just died!

The moment this happened, I suddenly knew why my visa application had been rejected.

Our Fundraising Cycling Event

During our grieving period, I knew weren't going to hold our annual cycling event. I wanted to give my wife enough time to heal. As a result, I stopped sharing my countdown to our event. But as the dates drew closer, my wife was determined that we needed to go on with our plans to cycle.

On December 13, 2019, our team of 3  cyclists, a boy we have been mentoring since 2017, my wife and a cameraperson embarked on our second cycling event. Though we had planned to cycle from Nairobi to Migori Town through Thika, Nyeri, Meru, Nyahururu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Siaya, Mbita, Homa Bay, Rongo, we changed our route.

This was due to the fact that we were not able to find hosts to offer accommodation and meals for our team. We therefore stuck to passing through Naivasha, Nakuru, Kericho, Kisumu and Mbita. Unlike the previous cycling event, we were not able to raise more than the money we used for fuel, meals and accommodation. Some of our friends who include Leah Okeyo offered accommodation and meals.

On Realizing That I'm Not Doing Much

We have resumed our prison program without enough funding. Having failed to get more people to support our work, I stopped operating in my gift as a writer. Luckily, I haven't stopped working with our boys. In fact, it gives me joy to tell you that the boy we cycled with in December found families that are willing to host him when schools close and he needs a break from staying at the half way centre.

Another good news is that this boy joined high school this year. You read the full story here.

Well, not so many people especially Kenyans, don't like supporting causes. My failure to find support even from people from our church usually disappoints me. But I am learning how not to hold anything against them. Who knows, some of them may decide to start supporting today (ha ha ha!). I have also realized that I am not doing much with the gifts that God has blessed me with. That is actually why I am writing today.

As some of you are aware, I am a gifted writer and can coach boys. In my quest to share my gift, I am offering to help whoever needs a writer. I am also open to coach and mentor one boy. It could be your son, nephew, brother or neighbour. I figure that this way I may be of help to World Pulse members who need the services of a writer and aren't able to pay. All you need to do is take care of a few things. I will be helping Leah Okeyo and looking for one more person for this month and the many more.

That's all I wanted to share. I think that life is beautiful when we share what we have with those who need it.

Comments 21

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Tarke Edith
Feb 09
Feb 09

Hello James
It has really been long we haven't heard from you .
How are you now bro
I am very sorry for the lose on your mother in law.
Thank you very much for the offer you have given us to write and to couch some one . That is real love .
You know bro God has a reason for everything that may happen to us . As concern you program of going to US don't give up there is time for everything.
Thanks for sharing my dear brother.
Have a great day and happy New year hahaha.

James Ouma
Feb 09
Feb 09

Hello Edith,
Thanks for reading and for your encouragement. I am doing well and back .

Felicitas Wung
Feb 09
Feb 09

Hi brother James.
Oh I'm sorry about the lost.
God's ways are not man's ways that's why things happen that way.
A prosperous 2020 to you too.

James Ouma
Feb 10
Feb 10

Hello Felicitas Wung,
Thanks. I agree. God has the full picture and everything often works out in the end.

Felicitas Wung
Feb 11
Feb 11

Yea brother James. And when he says yes no one can say no.
We trust in him.

Felicitas Wung
Feb 11
Feb 11

Yea brother James. And when he says yes no one can say no.
We trust in him.

Metiege Noel Eve
Feb 10
Feb 10

Happy new year George. and sorry for the loss of your mother in-law.like your wife rightly said everything happens for a reason. And though you were refused a US visa do not worry bro since your reasons for wanting to travel were genuine. You will have a bigger openning

James Ouma
Feb 10
Feb 10

Metiege Noel Eve,

Yes! A bigger opening is in the offing. It is only a matter of time

Metiege Noel Eve
Feb 11
Feb 11

Congrats James. I can't wait to hear it when it happens. One thing I know is that our compensation always comes when we are genuine in our dealings with humanity
GOD BLESS YOU BRO.

James Ouma
Feb 11
Feb 11

Thank you. Will surely keep you posted

laison sylvie
Feb 10
Feb 10

Brother James, tough times come to strengthen you. You never realise how strong you are until all yo have to do is to be strong. I need a writer. Maybe you help me out.

James Ouma
Feb 10
Feb 10

Hello Iaison Sylvie,
Yes, we are stronger than we believe. Yes, I can help. Let me know how you need my help

Hello, James,

You are truly a gifted writer. You have your way of telling your stories of rejection, grief, feeling not doing enough, and more.

On that visa rejection, that hurts! Your pain is valid. Thank you for being brave to share that low moment with us.

On your mother-in-law's passing, I'm so sorry for your loss. Death is not an easy thing to go through.

On feeling you're not doing enough, hmmm, I think you are. Jill once shared a quote to me, " You are enough. You do enough. You have enough." I also agree with you though that we are to maximize the gifts God gave us.

I truly understand the frustration of not having much support for the causes you do. Have you considered writing a book? Or an ebook? Probably more on how to help at-risks male teens to live better lives, and how to support them?

I can see you are offering to mentor someone. You can share this as an OFFER to our Resources Pages: https://www.worldpulse.com/my-pulse/resources

Thank you for sharing this with us. I wonder if your wife is already on World Pulse. We would love to meet her. Please keep on writing. I enjoyed reading your post.

James Ouma
Feb 10
Feb 10

You are enough. You do enough. You have enough! This quote should find its way to anyone's wall! Thanks for your comments and words of comfort. Let me ask my wife to join World Pulse

That quote is a great reminder for all of us. :) You are welcome, dear brother. Oh, yes, thank you! We would love to meet her, too! Have a lovely day!

James Ouma
Feb 10
Feb 10

Thank you Karen. Have a lovely day too!

My pleasure.:)

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

HI James,
How are you doing. Thank you so much for sharing. So sorry for your loss. The challenges in life make us who we are. Thank you for reaching out to mentor someone. We should all be in the habit of holding someone's hand. I always wish I had a mentor in my life. So I am also preparing to mentor someone and guide them on their path in life. In life you need that one person who has your back and is always on the side lines when you fall they help you get back and encourage to move forward.
Have a lovely day and be blessed.

James Ouma
Feb 11
Feb 11

Having a mentor is very important even when we don't know what that means. I look forward to hearing about your mentoring relationship and hope to visit when I finally have the courage to cycle to Kampala where I grew up as a young boy. Keep me posted

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

I will definitely keep you posted and it would be great to link up when you decide to come to Kampala.

Anita Shrestha
Feb 11
Feb 11

Dear brother'
Thank you very much for sharing =Please keep it continue dear.