Day 338: The Elusive Ovacondo

They do not really hug us here in Kenya. They are the most affectionate people we have ever met, but it is all hand-based. Everyone greets with a handshake, and will hold on through a conversation so that you are forced to pay attention to them (a good strategy really) and it has gotten to the point where at the beginning of every conversation I reach for Claire’s hand, though this is extremely strange behavior for an American.

But things are generally going extremely well. The kids are really enthusiastic about the running, and our growing concern is that they will wear us out. I finally made a sign with a schedule of the running days so that we could stop being approached every three seconds by someone asking if we were going running again in the (morning/afternoon/evening), whichever time of day came next.

Though we love the view, fitness, community etc etc. of these runs, I feel comfortable speaking for both of us when I say that our favorite part of the running is undoubtedly the outfits. The boys look normal…shorts, tank tops or T-shirts, and sneakers, but Claire and I do not usually enjoy these looks, as even the 8 year olds run too fast for us. A lot of them lack socks, but we are working on that.

The girls, however, are another story. The older girls have to run in long kilt-like skirts, which means that they spend half the run pushing the front flap down to make sure they look decent. A few have “rubbers” to put on, which I learned after a lot of confusion meant spandex, but they are still not supposed to show them. Yesterday, I struggled in vain to find out why they couldn’t wear shorts, as one girl, the infamous Jan(e), asked me if she could wear shorts or if anyone would “ask.” Ask what? Ask what? But she was unable to tell me.

She had no problem communicating with me, however, when we all got back from market yesterday. She handed me a note through the window, told me to read it, and “when I return, tell me what it says.” She then scampered away and hid behind a tree. It reads as follows:

“Dear Lola,

I Love you I pray for you

Please help me with one ovacando. Please Please Pleas

Is good to help.”

Jan(e) is good at guilt. We figure she was asking for an avocado. But by the time I looked up, she had vacated the tree, and she never did come back for it.

But back, quickly, to the outfits. The younger girls are the best part of running; they want to hold our hands the entire time (the little boys do too, but they drop our hands as soon as girls or older boys show up on the horizon), and they run in their casual outfits—a genre made entirely of discarded party dresses. This means that every afternoon, Claire, Jonathan and I set out to go running with a pack of small girls below the height of our hip, who are dressed in new sneakers, a wool cap because it is cold in 75 degree weather, and a dress fit for Easter Sunday. We hear one of the smallest ones actually owns a T-shirt, albeit one that reads “I have PMS and ESP…this makes me a b*@#$ who knows everything,” but we have yet to view such a phenomenon.

1 comment:

sarah mac said...

a pack of girls running in party dresses really deserves a video...

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