Monday Morning Motivation: Josephine Ocaka

Josephine Ocaka and other members of the Ugandan Crew at Burgess parkrun.

This week’s Monday Morning Motivation is courtesy of Josephine Ocaka. Josephine is a key member of the Ugandan Crew who I met at the parkrun Ambassadors Conference. They run at Burgess parkrun. This video relates to International Women’s Day which is coming up on Sunday.

Josephine Ocaka transcript

A lot of people experience a lot of traumatic, should I say, events when we left Uganda. A lot of family members that I know, friends, are no longer with us because of the war. My brother and two sisters also came here, I suppose started a new life. I’ve always tried to encourage some of them to come running, so I Google parkrun and believe it or not, actually, my parkrun is five minutes’ walk from my house.

When you bring one in, the other one will come in as well, and since they came, they have not left. Within that parkrun community, the women especially have given me so much of their trust because I’ve seen people that have been on the lowest of their life. And when I see that growth and the confidence that they actually have now, I feel so proud. I can’t express what sort of joy that is.

You always wait for each other at the end, and when someone finishes and they always run back to grab you, I can’t imagine why no-one else does it. It’s just amazing. And actually, most of the time it’s always women! So, I’m so happy when you see the joy and the smiles always say it all.

Ugandan crew

Burgess has probably brought more to the Ugandan crew than anything and I’m so grateful for them embracing the Ugandan culture as well. Taught them a few words in Swahili, “Assante Sana”. So after today, sometimes when you’re volunteering, even people say, “Assante Sana!” I was like, “Oh, okay”, which is obviously thank you very much.

Right now I can’t actually imagine not having the amount of people or the people that I’ve connected with now. If anything, they are the most positive women I have ever met in my life, considering what they’ve gone through and they continue to go through. The parkrun community gives me so much that I can’t imagine if I wasn’t doing parkrun, if I would ever, because these people, I now take them as family. They’re actually my family.

My name is Josephine, and I’m a parkrunner.

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