06 May Man who walked 4-6 miles twice a day for water shares the power of prayers, faith
Hard times, without a doubt, can challenge our faith and leave us feeling hopeless. But for Sam Irungu, now web developer for the global humanitarian organization World Vision, losing hope was never an option.
Having been raised in the remote region of Kenya known as Rift Valley, Sam was no stranger to hard times. Drought and famine presented such harsh living conditions that he and his five siblings were forced to walk miles each day in search of water.
“We would walk 4-6 miles every morning and every evening to get clean water,” explained Sam. “We carried 20 liters each trip, which is equivalent to about 44 pounds.”
But the water trek didn’t stop there. In addition to his morning and evening routine, he was expected to carry 5 gallons of water to school 3 times a week.
“We didn’t have cement flooring in our classroom so we had to sprinkle water on the ground just to minimize the dust,” said Sam.
Coming from a home that was rooted in Christianity, Sam explains that his mother and father were strong, Godly parents and sowed the message of hope in his life every day.
“My mom knew scripture very well and taught us the ways of the Lord. She often reminded us that He will never abandon or forsake us.”
After his parents went home to be with the Lord during his teen years, Sam recalled his mother telling him to, “Never worry about what you have in this life because Scripture tells us; ‘I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor His descendants begging for bread (Psalm 37:25).’”
In his pursuit of a better life, Sam came to America to further his education after attending the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
“There’s a difference between hearing the story and encountering it first hand. The abundance of the land and the infrastructure; it was an experience I longed for. To me, the United States was breathtaking.”
While renting his first apartment, Sam marveled at the fact that he had an actual floor, sewer and didn’t have to worry about water anymore. “My mind was like wow, this is how life ought to be!”
It wasn’t until he flew back to Kenya in 2015, that he discovered piped water and a water reservoir for the community that World Vision had set up. It didn’t take long before he found himself working for the organization and partnering with their mission to provide clean water for countries all over the globe.
Sam worked hard to train for the Global #6K for Water initiative. He ran a half marathon in the past so he’s hoping he’ll have enough energy to run the full 6K course twice.
“I want to do it twice because it signifies the journey I had to make each day as a child – 6 kilometers in the morning and 6 kilometers at night. People sometimes don’t realize how hard it is. I was often barefoot. So today, I appreciate that I have shoes, and I don’t have to look for clean water.”
His preparations for the 6K include 5-6 miles of regular running throughout the week along with training on the beaches of Kenya during his last visit.
“For me, running the course twice really isn’t that hard,” exclaimed Sam. “Kenyans run (he laughs)! It’s a constant reminder of how hard I worked as a child and what I’m grateful for today.”
“My message to anyone reading this right now is that they can make a difference for people thousands of miles away,” said Sam.
Six kilometers is the average distance that people in the developing world walk for water — water that is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases. On Saturday, May 6th, 2017, people from around the globe walked or ran 6 kilometers for an extraordinary cause.
To join the Global #6K for Water initiative visit www.teamworldvision.org. The cost is $50 a person in order to bring clean water to one child in Kenya and developing countries around the globe.
Although life has been challenging at times, Sam’s faith never waivered.
“The story of my faith is inseparable from my life and it’s one that I passionately live for and confess,” said Sam. “I live today because of the prayers that were spoken over my life. I live today because of a mother who was careful to keep the ways of God and guide me along that path.”
And Sam lives today to offer hope to people all over the world.