POST FROM JACOB WHEELER via the Glen Arbor Sun
Sunday January 16th, 2011
The Run Across Ethiopia expanded today, with Timothy Young’s daughter Stella, and Hans Voss’ wife Maureen and daughters joining us on Day 8. Filmmakers James and Jamaica Weston have returned to us after spending much of the past week in Addis Ababa. And even our local support crew — nurse Mamoosh and interpreter Egga — donned sneakers and left the van to leg out a few turns in the road. As such, the team that ascended 15 miles into the Sidamo coffee-rich region was nearly 20 people strong. We’ve become accustomed to villagers, and children in particular, swarming the runners whenever they pass along the road, but we got lucky today because Sunday meant that many were attending church. Fifteen miles completed today, which puts us at 198 since leaving Addis last Sunday. Only 52 more to go before the victory jog into Yirgachefe on Thursday.
The past two nights we’ve stayed at the stunningly beautiful Aragesh mountain lodge near the remote village of Yirgalem. We’ve slept and dined in a series of round bamboo woven huts that are constructed entirely of local materials and held up by one post in the center of the room. Such architecture reminded me of indigenous earth lodges and was a welcome departure from the urban grit of previous towns. Since Thursday, we’ve traded diesel exhaust, bass music thumping until the wee hours, heinous smells and old condoms found under a hotel room bed, for serenity, long walks into the green valley, locally grown (and sterilized) vegetables, a bonfire pit …. and wildlife.
Around dusk at the Aragesh lodge a groundskeeper throws food scraps down a nearby hillside, which immediately attracts giant vultures and hyenas — more wolf than dog, and the primary reason why Ethiopian runners never train along and before sunrise.
Tonight, northern Michigan musicians Seth Bernard and Mae Erlewine rejoined our crew, and played an after-dinner performance around the campfire. One could almost imagine the hyenas listening curiously from the forest below as the duo offered new songs they had written in Ethiopia, as well as the Johnny Cash favorite “Ring of fire”. Suddenly we looked through the smoke, and in a clearing on the other side of the fire pit, filmmakers James and Jamaica had begun to dance — they had become nymphs from the deep forest, their feet moving so rapidly and effortlessly that they hardly touched the ground. As graceful as Ethiopian marathon runners, I thought, whose bodies move forward always, instead of bounding up and down. Watching this was poetry.
To return to our website please click here, www.runacrossethiopia.org