This is the story of Sammy, a 12-year-old boy from Kenya, who had to take care of his siblings because his father passed away and his mother deserted them.
Claire is a 23-year-old privileged American who just graduated from Stanford College and is moving to San Miguel, Mexico, to work as an anthropologist. She decides to move to South Africa because Mexico isn't what she thought it would be.
Claire and her friend, Lara, plan to spend one year traveling the world. They go on a 2-week cruise from Miami to Spain, where Claire runs in a marathon. Then she and Lara go to India, Thailand, The Himalayas, Kenya and then Moscow to climb Mt. Everest. They go to East Africa and stay at an orphanage where they meet Sammy. They taught the children the beauty of running, which gives them a sense of purpose, belonging and helps them discover something special about themselves.
Claire helps Sammy to come to a boarding school in Maine and changes his life for the best. But Claire's life also has been changed for the better. Sammy put new meaning in Claire's life and Sammy found new emotional ties with Claire that he was missing in his 'old' life in Kenya. As Shauna Nieguist said on the back cover: "love and hope can bridge continents and create family anywhere."
I received this book for free from Book Club network in exchange for my honest review.
This book keeps you interested from page one. The authors interweave their stories to make it easy to understand and enjoyable to read. Claire and Sammy come from such different backgrounds but are able to still give something missing to each other. Claire is a college graduate who is traveling the world. Sammy comes from an orphanage in Kenya. The book is a quick read. Make sure you have a few tissues handy just in case you may need them(I certainly did!).
I recieved this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
This is a wonderful book of how we can make a difference in our world for the good. This book shows that age doesn't matter...it's our hearts reaching out to others that matter.
I have been encourage by this book because it shows the ups and downs of making a difference in others lives. Lara and Claire I'm so happy that you pushed through to touch others with your lives. This is a great witness to other young adults you can do this and be successful. I pray that this book will reach the people of all generations to reach out to others whether locally or in a foreign country.
I especially liked that Claire and Sammy each wrote alternating chapters. It gives us a look into each of your lives.
Thanks for writing this book.
I received this book from Book Network for my honest review.
This book is wonderful in so many ways. It is inspiring in how it shows that persistence pays off in developing lasting relationships with people who are different from you. Many folks run away when they feel threatened by religious, economic or cultural differences. Claire Diaz-Ortiz is not afraid to venture out of her comfort zone. She lives life abundant by drinking up the joys and heartaches of deep felt relationships. She has tenacity to help where she sees the need and when she knows she has what it takes to make a world of difference. I loved reading about her search for more in life and seeing how she found it. She surrendered her heart to being a help to those who she wanted to show that there can be more to their lives. The children in the orphanage where she and her friend found themselves did not have any extracurricular activities. She and her friend established the Hope Runs program. They supplied shoes along with encouragement to the children. They all trained for a marathon. Near event time they were told some were too young to race. That was a heartbreaking moment for those who had trained so diligently and also for their trainers who felt they had let the children down by not reading the rules of the race thoroughly.
I especially liked hearing about the effects of short term mission trips compared to long term commitments from the recipient's viewpoint. The orphaned children need and deserve committed adults in their lives rather than people who visit for a short time, give money and have a photo op. The children have already experienced great loss in not having their parents with them, and they don't really trust outsiders who visit with them and leave shortly afterward.
Also, it was interesting to see how the children react to being given things when they have had so little. They want to use their running shoes only for dress up times to keep them nice. It becomes a challenge for the giver when resources are scarce and the choice must be made as to which children will receive an item or benefit and which ones will be left out. Resentful feelings often surface about not being chosen.
I am so glad that this book is available for people to read and think about. It has opened my mind to possibilities of ways people can be helped. Instead of just going in and providing the basic essentials as so many missions programs do, this effort by Claire and her friend enriched the lives of the children on many levels.
I received this book through bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review. In my opinion all people could benefit by reading this book. We need to think deeply about how we can help orphaned children in the world.