Sunday, July 29, 2012
Running along the ridge of the Rift Valley this morning with Laura was the most new kind of adventure. We began from the high altitude training center we were staying at, trotting down a muddy red path, in search of the stadium a few km away, which was built in the 50's for the Queen's visit. Since then, it's been passively preserved.
We were greeted by countless, tattered small children on the way, who excitedly parotted what they had learned in school: "How are you?! How are you?!" Some of them ran along with us. We smiled, and answered their cries in a mixture of Swahili and English, because they got a kick out of it. We answered, "Nzuri sana!" or "Good, how are you?!" to which we got huge smiles, and tens of frantically waving little hands.
We ran past the stadium, down a hill to check out the view of the Rift Valley, a chasm splitting East Africa longitudinally from north to south, spreading by a couple of centimeters per year. We trotted through some kind of abandoned camp to the ridge, where the expanse opened before us. In the early morning haze, it looked like we were standing at the edge of the earth.
Finding some narrow twisting trails along the ridge, we traveled east toward Kario View, a restaurant and view point. I got snagged in a thorn bush so stubborn, Laura had to help free my hair. We ran through corn fields and across streams, hopping through makeshift fences, and greeting the people we met, who luckily seemed to have a different concept of property than many in the US. Wherever we went, we simply chose a path, left or right. We skated the ridge until we neared a road below, steep with a hairpin turn. We cut straight down the hill, toward the floor of the valley. At the bottom, a friendly gentleman offered me his son as a husband, after hearing I'm a doctor. We politely moved on, running back up to the camp, accompanied by a pack of siblings ranging in age from about 7 to 12, I'd guess. I was distracted from the incline, running through groups of cattle being herded down the hill.
Jordan, Laura and I went to Iten this weekend to see the high altitude training center frequented by athletes from around the world. Mere mortals are permitted as well. It was like a summer camp for grown- ups. We ate well, swam in the chilly pool, and worked out barefoot in a gorgeous, empty gym. The dwellings were reminiscent of tree houses.
I have a lot to write about the residents and all we have done over the past week. More to come tomorrow!