POST BY ANNE STANTON
Anne created these posts on her Facebook page on Monday and Tuesday. I’ve copied them here.
Monday January 10, 2011 - Run Day Two
On this trip, I often find myself looking around and seeing things I haven’t seen before; each sight is new– an adventure, a leap into hope. The school we visited has no running water, and the windows are cut out squares in the building. Two small rooms. The crayons are little stubs, and there is just a shelf full of books.
There are so many kids, about 7 of them, and they draw right on the concrete porch, which gives their art a bit of a serrated look. The bathroom is the kind they call a “shit pit,” where you position your feet on either side of the hole, and, um, squat and pee. The door is corrugated metal. The kids are expected to learn three languages in their little lives–Amharic, the local language, and English. And I mean, they are REALLY expected to learn them because they can’t funciton without the first two, and have to know English for secondary school. Seth and May were a huge hit with the kids. I talked to Chris Treter later about the less than wonderful physical aspects of the school, and he told me that it was better than what you’d see in coffee country further south. “To me it’s a human rights issue.”
We went back into town to eat with the team (no salads, wah! because of the potential to get sick), and then returned to the school. This little guy, maybe 7, attached himself to me and proudly recited to me the names of his body: eye, nose, ear, stoem-ec, foot,” So cute. He just held my arm as we went around the little sunny courtyard. Soon it was time to go, and he followed us all to the bus, and just as we were pulling out, he dived into the bus to grab a plastic bottle (which for some reason has great value), and just about got himself really hurt. But didn’t, thank God. After that, we started passing out empty bottles to kids, who think they are an absoulte treasure.
This is getting so long! But I can’t tell you how interesting everything is. We stayed at a hotel last night that had an Olympic size swimming pool, I kid you not. I joined some of the others after trying to deal with my issue of being seriously over-packed, and there was Jacob Wheeler in a bathing suit, wondering if anyone would dare him to jump off the high dive (despite the pool being closed). And he did. Wearing a very tight bathing suit. Nice party afterward where we met and interviewed Olympic gold medal winners. Mary Moore was so verklempt at meeting Derakatu Tulu, Ethiopia’s first gold medalist female runner, that she had tears rolling down on her cheeks.
Tuesday January 11, 2011 - Run Day Three
THE SNAP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD
Today, the team ran 28 miles (amazing), and I ran six (four, then one, then one), and it was hotter than hell. Poor Claire wasn’t feeling well at all and STILL ran 28 miles. As we were running out of town, this little guy in a school uniform broke away from his friends and ran with us, smiling and laughing–he was running fast, and just as I was getting worried about him, he ran up the driveway to his school. It was like that the whole run, little guys joining us, some even barefoot. (Click the image below to see Jacob Wheeler’s video of a child with a huge backpack pacing the team.)
A “runner’s bus” follows the runners, and stops every 30 minutes with water, and every hour with some kind of sustenance. Even so, two of the runners “bonked” because they didn’t eat enough food. Every day, there’s a kind of recap meeting where we discuss went right and wrong, and everyone unaniomously agreed we need an earlier start because of the heat. I volunteered to help make pbj sandwiches in the morning (I start at 5:15 a.m.) Of course, time really doesn’t have any great meaning in my book since I am totally screwed up anyway; just today I’m finally getting my bearings as far as the clock goes (we are 8 hours ahead of EST in the US).
There were times today when I was the only white person on the bus with eight of the Ethiopians, who were rocking out with the Ethiopian music and chatting, chatting. The runners, of course, are rock hard. Two of the Ethiopian women went ahead of the group (probably frustrated with the pace), and ran all the way into town at which point another Ethiopian had to come and find them. They were kind of “timed-out” today on the bus but will run again tomorrow. Will close with this scene. We finished the run, and were walking to cool down, and we were at this beautiful farm where they harvest tef, and eight or so bulls were tethered together, minded by an 8 year old. A younger man with a pitchfork posed for pictures. (I’ll be sure to post some when I get back.) Anyway, I look over and there’s this man with a whip standing on the road, kind of whipping the air. Snap. WEIRD. I miss you all and will try to write again tomorrow.
If you’d like to return to our website click here, www.runacrossethiopia.org