POST BY CLAIRE EVERHART
Thursday January 13, 2011
We just completed our 5th day of running, also our 3rd of four 30 mile days. It was brutal but we made it! Believe it or not, the first 20 miles go by fairly quickly, it’s the last 10 that seem to take forever.
We had several moral boosts as crowds of children in every village we passed through ran with us, some for over a mile, gliding over jagged rocks and thorny bushes in bare feet as though they were running on lush grass. Their skinny figures, tattered clothing and obvious lack of dental care does not stop the chorus of laughter that surrounds us the entire time they’re running.
Many will often grab one of our hands while they run, or say “you! you!” If we say it back they just double over in giggles. Matt Desmond has quite a way with them. He often can get the whole group repeating him in unison, as he shouts team member names or soccer teams. It is quite heartbreaking, however, when they all beg for our empty water bottles. One runner can often be surrounded by 20+ outstretched hands and only one empty water bottle to give out. (Editors note: ironically, in America discarded water bottles are a nuisance along roadsides and in communities. In Ethiopia these simple toss-offs are sought after commodities because of the value they have in being refilled with water from community wells. Ethiopia ranks as having some of the worst access to safe drinking water in the world.)
We have all been reminded of how easy it is to take for granted water always coming from the faucet. Most here don’t even have faucets, and those who do, cannot count on water always coming, we didn’t have any water for several hours where we’re staying tonight, what a harsh difference from the states.
(Claire is a recent graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and ran on their cross country team. She is an intern with Global Village Collection, one of our sponsoring partners in Delaware, Ohio.)
If you’d like to return to our website just click this link, www.runacrossethiopia.org