I didn’t blog at all during December so here’s a recap!
I completed my first half-marathon (for World AIDS Day)…..that I didn’t train for…..and ended up walking half of it. I could have finished it in barely under 3 hours if I hadn’t gotten utterly confused and had to follow another Kenyan who was confused as well…I ended up finishing it in a bit over 3 hours (slowpoke!) The course wasn’t clearly marked and for a good 40-50 minutes we (me + random Kenyan) were the only runners/walkers from the race in sight on a confusing course….so we just walked the last 5k of it. It was fun to run among Kenyans who are known for their amazing long distance running skills.
It was nothing like races in the States where streets are blocked off. We literally ran in the curbs of busy streets with matatus passing us (touts yelling at us) while breathing in diesel fumes. We ran on busy sidewalks (almost like trying to run in NYC during rush hour). We ran through mud. We ran on rocky dirt roads. We had to stop to cross busy streets. We ran through road construction which included having to jump down from a pipe. We ran through the slums. We had kids chasing after us. Water was given to us in plastic bags that we had to bite a hole through to drink. We had to avoid cows, dogs, and goats. We ran near Lake Victoria. We got offers from pikpik (motorcycles) drivers to help us cheat by taking us closer to the finish line. Some Kenyans ran barefooted, some ran with their purses, and some even ran in jeans.
The winner of the half-marathon race ran it in 1:06:33 and the marathon winner finished in under 2 hours.
Just such an awesome experience that I was able to share with about 10 other PCVs who participated as well.
Cities and towns in Kenya are just a whole another world compared to villages. Every once in a while I’ll go to Nakumatt (like Wal-Mart) and I will see a family who is obviously from the village. I went to Nakumatt last week and saw a family who was trying to figure out how to use the escalators. It involved screaming kids who were terrified of getting on and a woman who almost fell off trying to get on it. They were literally just standing and staring at the escalators for a good 15 minutes before they even tried to get on. Then they were so nervous about trying to figure out how to step off once they got to the bottom.
I give them major kudos for trying it! Can you imagine never seeing escalators in your life and then trying to figure out how to use it?
PRAYER DAY, KCPEs, and CLASS 8
Our school had a Prayer Day for Class 8 the day before KCPEs. Parents, a few teachers, and pastors came to pray for Class 8 students to do well on their exams.
Class 8 students are now done with primary school and awaiting their KCPE test results (this is the only thing that matters after 9 years of primary school…no other tests….no grades….very serious exam, so serious that each school has an armed officer with an AK-47 standing guard during the exams) which will decide if and which secondary school they go to this year.
I was sad to see them leave!