Friday, November 19, 2010

Ma course (My Run)

My morning run takes me past the football terrain and skirts the town as i follow along the rice fields.  I enjoy this route because 1.) I'm mostly on red dirt, country road, and not concrete 2.) I don't see many people 3.) Nor hardly ever any cars or motos. I did see a big snakey looking lizard the other day and he startled me so that I almost ran into the bush - never seen one several feet long like that one here before!  I run by two schools and love that school is out right now because this means less screaming kids.  In a few places along my route, guys have stacked up mounds of wood in the brush to make charcoal (they get this by chopping down trees, unfortunately). The smoldering piles make the air smell like burnt earth. 
I wave to families as I pass their compounds, some say 'hi' everyday others don't; a few people know my name and shout "Aisha" en route, others yell " fotey" (white person).  I run out to what looks like an abandoned village, but i learned later after questioning the bizarre nature of all the big homes in the countryside, that these abandoned looking homes are occupied.  I guess some locals that live abroad (or so the rumors go) send money back to construct these quasi-African style mansions.  But why here, in a village that is a  hamlet of another village, and why let the homes go into a state of disrepair, letting nature take over like the ruins of Angkor? The mystery remains - I try not to think too much about it, I'm running,
     A few women walk by on their way to market, one is selling roast peanuts she's balancing on a tray on her head. I run by a hangar with a few people squatting down underneath.  They're digging into a bowl of food, "invitation," they call, which is an invitation to come eat.  I decline as I'm on the move. At two points along my run on the hills, I can see Conakry off in the distance.  Its a nice feeling running in the country knowing I'm far enough away not to be effected by the cities craziness, but close enough that I can go in if I need to. Yes, the sun's out and I'm sweating buckets.  Everyday when I get back I look like I've jumped in a lake.  But I'm sure all this sweating is a good way to cleanse the system and hopefully will deter any parasites from making me home.
     I stop to stretch and a goat runs by with a rope-leash dragging from its neck, then a small boy comes running after.  Tomorrow is Tabaski, the Muslim holiday where everyone eats maybe this goat knows he's got something to run for!
      When I arrive back, I walk over to my host family Diallo's house and pick up my day's bread - they get it fresh for me from the neighbor's wood oven (you have to get it at 6am otherwise it's all gone, and they go over there anyway, so I see no need to be up at 6am too! ).  Mohamed (20yrs) is out in the courtyard doing his own laundry (wow!, usually you only see the women doing this) and he's getting water from the well for the women's cooking - big points.  Mom has taken her new grandson to the hospital to get vaccinated as he was born this last Weds., and Yaya the mother of the baby is resting on the couch eating porridge. Dad will be back from Mecca next week (after the Fete) so the house is going through repairs and is in a general state of disarray. A chicken is climbing on the stack of newly cut rice laying in the doorway.  I chat for a few minutes and then grab my bread by the piece of paper cement sack that is economically used as a partial 'wrap' around the bread (this is how bread is handed to you), and head home to hit the showers.

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