Thursday, December 13, 2012

Spiderman & Batman

This last weekend I was in Tambacounda, only about two hours north east of me, for the annual Marathon for Girls Education. This was the second time that the marathon was held and I would consider it to be a huge success. There is a small entry fee, 1000 CFA that is the equivalent to about $2, and money earned both in fundraising and donations is given towards girls’ education in Senegal (scholarships, girls camps, youth groups and other empowerment activities).
The Peace Corps recognizes that women are a big part of a successful society and with women being more than half of the population in Senegal it is important that this majority not go uneducated. There was a 1K sprint, 5K, 10K, and ½ marathon that were offered, while yours truly participated in the 5K. Alexx and I have been “training” to participate in the run for about three months or so, in hopes that we would not be dying by the end. I believe there were around 200 runners with only about thirty or so Peace Corps Volunteers while the rest were represented locals; both school age and older. It was really great seeing the girls especially take part in the event considering most sports in this country are geared towards boys. With more than 100 kids, ranging in ages from 7-18, the pace was sure to start off fast. Most of the volunteers were in the very back in hopes of not being trampled by the masses at the start. Alexx and I started off together but soon separated, I wanted to go my own pace and new I had about a 30 minute run ahead of me and didn’t want to go too hard too soon. I picked up a running buddy pretty soon in the race, a boy about 13 running in what we would have called “jellies” which were always a shoe for girls in the states but apparently see no gender here. Jellies seem to be the perfect shoe for any athlete with a budget, you can by them for fairly cheap in the market and you see them on people running or even playing soccer. The race went through the main street of Tambacounda and the crowds were quick to form in result of 200 people running down a street. This would be a good time to mention that races here are not given the same privileges as in the states; there were no blocked streets or flat courses. Up hill, down hill, the African heat, all these things were wearing on me much more quickly than on my runs while I was training. At the halfway point for each of the races there was a water station; the longer you ran the more water stations you passed. When I got to our halfway station I grabbed my water sachet, got my mark on my number noting I made it to the halfway point (eliminating kids from not going all the way for various reasons) and turned around ready for the second half of my trip. This is about the time I lost one running buddy and gained about six more. A group of girls jumped into sync with me, and it was the perfect second half for a race benefiting girls. There were times I wanted to walk, especially with the last kilometer being uphill, and the same for them but we did a great job encouraging each other, and honestly I was too stubborn to walk considering my only goal for the run was to not walk. We past the finish line as a group and it was a great feeling to be finished; 30 minutes and 40 seconds was my final time. Now I realize this is not the best time but everyone always has room for improvement, right? I set a goal and I finished it, that was what I was most excited about! I had two other friends from my training class that ran the ½ marathon and they kicked butt!! Karen and Trevon, great work guys especially considering how hot it was getting once you finished! Next year I want to do the 10K so we will see how my off-season training goes.
I am not sure if I ever wrote about it but I know that I have talked about it with my friends here in Senegal. Being somewhere less developed than you are used to is bound to have some difficulties that quickly become a normality. In the beginning, in terms of my house, it was that I cohabited with grasshoppers, lizards, and there were sounds of things walking on my tin roof that sounded like the next civil war. My difficulties have now escalated to a healthy mix of Spiderman and Batman; mice. There is only ever one at a time, that I am aware of, and I always know he is around and I can hear him but it’s a whole different story trying to actually find him, hence the batman. My room is not that big and I don’t have that much stuff so you would think that it would be pretty easy to find these guys but they are sneaky and a lot smarter than I ever thought. Just the other morning while I was sitting on the floor I actually saw a mouse hanging upside down on my plastic rack where I keep all my food, hence the Spiderman. Upside down! What? I didn’t even think that would be a possibility, being three feet from the ground and hanging upside down under something. I am not scared of mice I used to have dozens of them as pets when I was younger, just ask my parents, I am just a little restless when I can hear them but not see them. Also it’s a matter of them moving so quickly and having no shame of running over your feet as you are trying to shoe them out of door; if a turtle came through my front door I would think it was more cute than an actual intruder. Up until now I have been finding them, opening my door, and chasing them out the door with a broom. I thought I was giving them a second chance at life but since they kept returning I am now taking things a step further; I bought some glue. Now the glue is turning out to be more of a pain for me than the mice. The first time I put it on cardboard and left for the weekend returning to it spilling all over the floor, which I can’t even explain how much of a hassle that was to clean up. Then I thought I was getting smarter and I put some in a bowl with some food as bait and the glue just got all over my fingers and proved more annoying to get off than actually living with the mice. As a result I am now in the market for something that makes them not want to even come in my room, we will see but until then we will just have to coexist. I am actually thinking about buying a tank of sorts and start trapping them and keeping them as pets. All they want is food and a warm place to sleep with the cold season coming upon us and this way I wont have to kill them. I am sure they are infected with all sorts of things that are unheard of to the normal American pet store mouse so this will strictly be a last resort option. Thanks for reading and until next time. 


Kari Cinker said...

Congrats on the run Kelly!! That's awesome. I really love the picture :)


A French Connection Copyright © 2011 -- Template created by O Pregador -- Powered by Blogger