I think I am in a running club. After getting cell phone wake up calls almost every morning for 2 weeks to go running with some women that live in my neighborhood I think it is now officially a club of sorts.
It started a few weeks back when I was sitting with some neighbors outside a friend’s duka. They asked me if I liked to exercise and of course I said I love it. I tried to explain Tae-bo but I think they mostly thought I was crazy but when I said I also like to run they said “we go running every morning.” I told them I would love to join them and they said they would call me the next morning. And they were serious about the whole morning thing! The phone calls come at around 5am every morning and after stumbling out of bed and trying not to wake Jason and Anni I quickly throw on some clothes and make it out the door. Although I definitely miss the sleep (and Jason does not appreciate the wake up call) I am loving spending time with these women. One in particular is there every morning and we have started to become good friends. She now comes over to chat about running and learn new stretches. The wife of our Mlinzi even acted out for her what it looks like when I do Tae-bo (she should know since she watches me through the window). It was hilarious as she was thrashing around and kicking her legs with Zawadi bouncing around on her back. I offered to teach them Tae-bo so we shall see. Billy Blanks simply cannot be limited to America! The first morning we went running I wanted to be conservative but I was the only one wearing a skirt. They were all wearing pants and COATS long enough to cover their bootys. Since I absolutely refuse to wear a coat in 90 degree weather I will stick with my kanga to cover my generous booty. They like to run early because it is cool, dark (REALLY dark!), and not many people are out. We talk Mama stuff, current news, sicknesses, cooking, what events are coming up, and they ask my a lot of questions about America. The biggest one that someone even asked me on the dala dala yesterday is “did you breastfeed Anni”? (the Kiswahili is literally “Did Annikah suck the breast?”) For some reason I think they have a misconception that Wazungu women do not breastfeed. I am glad they are able to ask me things about culture since I am usually the one being relentless in my questioning as I learn so much by asking questions. After finding out I ran a marathon back home they asked over and over “all in one day?” Yeah, pretty crazy, I know. They always ask me why I don’t breath heavy and why I am not tired. Last Friday I think they were determined to run until I was tired so we went for over an hour and they kept asking me if I was tired yet. When I finally said yeah we stopped and walked home. The funniest part was the next day I saw my friend and she said her legs were so sore she could not walk in the morning. Pole! Now we mostly run,walk, run with lots of breaks.
Yep, I am quite enjoying our little running club. It is great language practice and I get to exercise before the sweltering heat sets in. The best part is I am really getting to know these women and we are learning about each other’s lives. The night sky in amazing and it is so silent here that early. I also get to see a different side of this little island; people riding their bikes piled high with vegetables, fruit, and fish to take to market, people headed to work or on their way home from early prayer, and best of all I get to run and gab with some women that I think are pretty cool.