1. Food! - Anyone who has a dog (especially a puppy) knows how excited they get at breakfast and dinner time. Amani does a little "food dance" whenever we go to fill her dog bowl with her delicious organic dog food (she's a runner and needs good fuel to train hard everyday). Her "dance" involves wagging her tail, a little bouncing, and a little spinning while she struggles to stay seated because she knows she only gets her food if she "sits". It is a daily reminder to never take food or nutrition for granted and to count the blessings of having access to food. In Kakuma refugee camp I felt the same joy for the one small meal we got everyday and now in America I realize the true blessings we all have.
2. Family - One of the greatest blessings of adopting Amani was enjoying the unending love and loyalty that she has for Brittany and I. No matter how long a workday Brittany has or how exhausted I am after a hard workout, Amani is waiting at the door to lick our worries away. It reminds me of the importance of being surrounded by loving family and friends everyday. The greatest gift I ever received in my life was being adopted by a family when I was 16 years old. In the refugee camp I was a boy without an identity, family, or a country. When I came to America in 2001 I got a country to be proud of, a second chance at my childhood, and most importantly, I got the unconditional love and support of a family. Thank you so much to my parents Rob and Barb Rogers for everything you have done for me!
3. Peace - When Brittany and I were thinking about what to name our new puppy we wanted something that would remind us daily of the joy she brings to our life. The word "Amani" means "Peace" in Swahili. As soon as we thought of it we knew that was her name :) Amani is a ball of energy and happiness and it reminds us everyday of the blessing of going to sleep at night knowing that we will wake up safe. We know that so many people living in war torn countries constantly worry about the safety of their families. I want to make sure that no other child is ever robbed of their childhood the way that I was. By simply providing a sense of peace and security for someone, a world of opportunity opens up allowing him or her to achieve their dreams. Our only limitations are the ones we put on ourselves. That is a beautiful thing! I train harder everyday so that together we can do amazing things and provide "Amani" for children in South Sudan.
Running Tip 2: To increase running speed add a burst of speed at the end of every run. Even accelerating for the last 100 meters of every run will have you craving speed and you will see the results!
These are only a few of the many joys of Amani. Amani is a goof-ball a lot like me and quite clever like Brittany. She is a great runner and training partner (of course!). I hope that we give her even a fraction of the happiness she gives us!
Please keep sharing my story and Running for My Life with family and friends! I know that together we can change thousands of lives in South Sudan and share the many blessings - Join my team and the 4 South Sudan Campaign!