Wednesday July 11, 2012
Written by Christopher Osborn
What a day!! We woke up at 5:45 and found that we were already late... We made the trek to the KCC, where we prepared for the race to Bofu. This race is a pretty big deal. People come from all of the villages to get a chance to run a 7.2 mile race, across the arid Kenyan hills, for a monetary prize of great value. When we arrived at the KCC around 7:00, there were already over 50 Kenyans waiting. And the race starts at 8.
We ate breakfast at the luxurious KCC, which is a 5-star hotel compared to our dirt floor huts. Most of the youth ate scones, while several of us, the ones who were going to run, stuffed them in our packs for after the race. We tied our shoes, filled our bottles, and pinned our numbers on. Since Kenyans run at leopard speed, all white people were allowed to start the run with the women, who began the race 20 minutes before the men. We took a photo with all of the runners and lined up. I heard someone yell something and we started running.
|The road to Bofu|
I found myself left far behind by the women, who sprinted from the start...and didn't stop! I ran down the road, which is just a wider dirt path. I ran up and down hills, looking out over the valley as I went. This place is simply beautiful! It is dry and dusty, but the streams are lined by massive palm trees. This view is what kept me going when I wanted to give up and walk. Looking out at this amazing 360 degree view, and stepping back a bit and thinking, "I am in Kenya, in Kenya, running the longest run I've ever ran, against Kenyans, who are not only twice as fast as me, but are barefoot! I can keep going."
|Christopher running to Bofu|
As with every day, every twenty or so steps someone would yell "Jambo!" and I would reply with "Jambo!". I especially love it when the children yell jambo. Some of the adults would go on to say something in Swahili or Duruma and I would just smile back, because I can't understand one word they say. Every so often, I would pass one of the checkpoints where the others were waiting to hand out water. Unfortunately, the water isn't safe for us to drink, so I would run past just saying hello and receiving some encouragement.
|Water station along the race route|
I knew that the men were fast, but it surprised me when the men would pass me at double my speet, and that's not all, while we were going up a hill.
When we reached Bofu, a small group of children started running with me after greeting me with "Jambo!". They ran with me until just before the finish line, which was a row of yelling Kenyans. I nearly collapsed when I stopped running and Jami was there asking if I needed any water. I realized that I had completely forgotten about the liter water bottle I was carrying!
I found Chase, who had somehow finished 3rd, (of the women...) and we sat down, ate our scones, and took a break. All of the runners were given a T-shirt, a wristband, and a packet of swedish fish! Boy oh boy! I have never enjoyed swedish fish so much before! And then another photo was taken, this time with all of the runners in their T-shirts.
|All the runners in their race t-shirts|
A small parade arrived. It was made up of several women dancing and a few men in cultural clothing with leather straps on their legs that had cans with rocks in them. They would stomp and dance, creating a strong beat. We paraded/danced over to the new two-room classroom. The building was dedicated and many more pictures were taken, the entire time the dancers outside still dancing. We walked over to a row of holes and every visitor got to plant and water a sapling. There was a large ceremony and it seemed that all of Bofu was there. The Skonnard family and the Guest family were thanked in an elaborate ceremony and given Doruma names. There were several activities and dances and songs for entertainment and at the end several people spoke. We walked over to the vans and had the opportunity to ride back to Vikolani.
|Dancers at Bofu celebration|
We had cabbage and ugali for lunch and most of the guys fell asleep in their hammocks. Benny, Caleb and I sat down in the hut and wrote in our journals for a while, trying to catch up because we have been so busy there hasn't been much time to write. We took turns in the showers because we didn't exactly smell like fresh linen after the race. There wasn't any warm water at the time, so my shower consisted of a cold bucket of water and an extra shirt for a towel. But did that feel great! I fixed our door handle because Ted was asleep. It is normally Ted's job because he designed the rope with knots tied on the ends fed through a hole. Normally, when it breaks, someone yells, "TED!! You're door broke again!" and he comes and fixes it.
We broke out the guitars and ukelele and started playing and singing when a boy named Edwin came to our camp to teach us how to make slingshots. He started by showing us how to make marbles from the dirt. He made a pile of dirt and poured some water into the center and mixed it into a clay. After he would roll small balls and set them out to dry. We made our slingshots with his help and tried to shoot them. Benny and Gary can both hit a pole at over 10 yards!
|The youth practicing with their new slingshots|
We headed back inside and continued writing in our journals. All of the sudden Garey runs into the room and yells, "Chris!! I have some stuff for you!" We share our handwritten dictionaries.