POST BY TIMOTHY YOUNG
Friday January 14th, 2011
On day six that long straight-as-an-arrow piece of asphalt that’s been pointing the way through the Ethiopian plains to Jirge Chefe (Editor’s note: We’ve found at least four different spellings of this town in official documents and maps. Early on we settled on “Yirgacheffe” as the official version we’d use. Though the running team is now immersed in the culture, so we’ll trust their judgment.) has given way to some curves, rolling hills and lush green vegetation. The good news for Hans Voss, Chris Treter and myself is that our loved ones, along with Seth and May and the film crew, just left Addis Ababa and are driving our way. We should see them in about 5 hours. We have a lot in store for everyone over the next few days.
Thanks to some quick organizing by our Tesfa Foundation support team we have a dinner planned at a small hotel on Hawassa Lake. I just came from there where I booked some rooms for the family visitors. I have no doubt my kids will love it since within a few minutes of arriving I was feeding monkeys out of my hand. Many of them had clinging babies. Too sweet. So the team will have dinner on the Lakeshore tonight and possibly even get to go out on paddleboats and mingle with hippos….at a safe distance of course. Then tonight, Seth and May have a concert planned with other local musicians. I’ve been told by the organizer that they are already expecting close to 1000 people and the plan to do radio spots this afternoon, so the crowd will likely grow.
After running three consecutive 30 mile days the runners have put some miles in the bank so we can taper off a bit in the coming days and we begin to climb in elevation. Hopefully that will allow them to stay up a little later tonight to see the concert. Then after tomorrow’s run, we have arranged to have a goat roasted over a fire on the shore of Hawassa Lake. This a traditional Ethiopian BBQ and should be a fun and rewarding way to bond as a team and prepare them for the final stretch. I met the goat moments ago and thanked her for tomorrow’s contribution to our meal. I don’t think she understood my English, but my intent was pure.
Crowds gather at each of our roadside water stops. It happens like this; Bus pulls over at pre-determined mileage mark. We prepare water bottles and snacks. It may look like there’s no one for miles around, but as soon as we out of the bus to await the runners, people come pouring out of grass and mud huts off in the distance and at times what seems like out of thin air. They are always welcoming and return a handshake and some nice “hellos” or “Salam.” Our Nurse, Mamush explains what we are doing and the runners arrive and depart to applause, often followed for up a mile or more by some the kids and adults.
P.S. More photos to come. My camera was lost on the trip here and I just found out yesterday it awaiting my departure in Addis. In the meantime, Chris Treter gave me his camera yesterday since he’s not using it.
Go back to our website by clicking here, www.runacrossethiopia.org