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 one week, he will be joining fellow East African Jesuit Fr Alexander Wainaina SJ for 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.

Originally from Tanzania, where he completed his graduate studies, Fr Kyara joined the Society of Jesus in 2002. He moved to Zimbabwe to study Philosophy for three years and then went back to his home country to teach at high school. His master’s in economics brought him to Chennai, South India, at the end of which he moved to Kenya to work in a retreat centre and then study Theology. Fr Kyara then joined the Jesuit development office in Nairobi which is the base for six countries: Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. They play a key role in the apostolic plan of the province, linking partners and projects.

Talking about what motivated him to become a Jesuit, Fr Kyara says “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.”

Fr Victor-Luke was headmaster at a school in Tanzania when Fr Kyara 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.”

The London Marathon on 28 April will be Fr Kyara’s first marathon. The training has been going pretty well so far: he goes running late in the evening or early morning to avoid extreme hot temperatures and he moves outside of the city where there are less obstacles and car traffic.

The biggest challenge for him is to complete the 42km. He is looking forward to get behind Jesuits 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,” Fr Kyara says. “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.”

This article was sourced by the interview of Jesuit Missions with Fr Kyara Corbinian SJ.

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