I’ve been thinking a lot about running recently. Mostly how I should do it more often than I do now. My neighboring PCV Michael started Team Komera, or Be Strong, in order to build a running community in PC Rwanda. We got a small group together to run the half and full marathons in Kigali, and Michael has been making videos of each runner at his/her site. Last week, Michael came to my site to interview me and then go for a run together. It was a lot of fun to have a running buddy, and I’m pleased to share Michaels’s video with you. You can see my profile, episode 3, and also episode 1 and episode 2.
The alarm goes off at 5:30am, and I roll over to hit the snooze button once, sometimes twice. It’s still dark outside, and I can hear the girls bathing and preparing for school outside. Some morning it’s all too easy to turn off the alarm and sleep in for another 45 minutes, but other days a run is just what I need to start my day.
I lace up my shoes and walk to the top of the driveway and head towards the village center before heading east. I follow the large, dirt road that leads out to some more remote village. The route winds along the mountainside with some small dips and rises along the way.
I pass mamas making their way to morning mass, farmers grazing their cattle on the sports ground, and children fetching water. I smell fires starting in kitchens and hear radios turning blaring the morning news.
In the rainy season I stop carefully pick my way through the landslides, trying not to slip. Some mornings it’s so foggy I can’t see around the next bend. During the dry season I return home coated in a fine layer of red dust.
I try to get out the door early because running is my time to think and clear my head. It can be my few precious moments of alone time during the day, and I want to keep it as personal as possible.
However the site of a lone muzungu jogging through town tends to garner some stares and exclamations of, “Eh baba weeeh!”
My favorite moment of the run comes at the turn around to head home. I always stop to admire my favorite view in Rwanda- the pink sun rising to my right, the mountains dappled with misty clouds stretching out before me, with the three volcanoes looming in the distance.
I will never grow tired of that sight. After a brief pause, I turn around and jog home.
Sometimes as I’m headed back, the first school children are beginning the trek to school, and they fall in step with me as I go by. I feel like a Rwandan school bus, collecting kids from the roadside and depositing them at school after wishing them, “Amasomo meza.” Have good lessons.
By the time I get home, the sun is fully up and the mist is lifting out of the valleys. Even on the days when I struggled to get out of bed, I return home awake and ready for the day. Buhoro buhoro, slowly by slowly, I’ll continue to jog my way across the beautiful Rwandan mountains.