East African Jesuits running the London Marathon
Fr Kyara Corbinian SJ is a Tanzanian Jesuit who works in the East African Jesuit Development office in Nairobi, Kenya. In less than three weeks’, he will be joining fellow East African Jesuit Fr Alexander Wainaina SJ to run the London Marathon. Along with the Jesuit Missions London Marathon team, they will be running in memory of Fr Victor Luke Odhimabo SJ who tragically died whilst serving in South Sudan in November 2018. Fr Kyara was one of the last people to see Fr Victor Luke before he died.
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and your background?
I am originally from Tanzania where I also completed my graduate studies. I joined the Society of Jesus in 2002 where I then completed my two years of formation. I moved to Zimbabwe to study Philosophy for three years then went back to Tanzania where I was a high school teacher for one year. I then moved to Chennai in South India to do my master’s in economics. In 2010 I moved to Kenya to work in a retreat centre then studied Theology for 3 years. I now work in the Jesuit development office in Nairobi which is the base for six countries: Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. We play a key role in the apostolic plan of the province, linking partners and projects within the province.
What inspired you to become a Jesuit?
After I completed my first degree, I worked as an audit assistant for two years, but I reached a point where I wanted to do more, something with meaning. I wanted to work with those in need to give my services to them. I was drawn to the Jesuits as they tend to go to the frontiers and really help those with most need.
What was your relationship with Fr Victor-Luke?
He was headmaster at a school in Tanzania when I was considering joining the Jesuits. He really inspired me with his dedication to education and ensuring that everyone was given the opportunity to learn. His dream was that everyone in South Sudan was given at least a basic education. Fr Victor really saw the big picture, he showed me his plans for the teaching college in Cuiebet.
How is training for the marathon going?
I feel I don’t have much time for training around all my work, but I feel that generally it’s going well. I hope to perhaps join with Alexander for some runs, who lives in another Nairobi Jesuit community about 15km away from me. I go late in the evening or early morning to avoid it being too hot and try and run outside of the city where there are less obstacles and car traffic.
Have you run a marathon or any similar race before?
This will be my first Marathon but I’m really excited.
What are you looking forward to about the marathon?
I’m really looking forward to getting behind Jesuit Missions to support their work in South Sudan. I was the last person in Nairobi to see Fr Victor-Luke before he died so I feel that I owe it to him. The least I can do is run in his name, I can’t promise any medals but I can create awareness of Jesuit Missions and awareness of the situation in South Sudan. People need to be aware of the need for intervention for education in South Sudan.
What will be the biggest challenge?
Finishing! I just want to make sure I complete it.