Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Running

Yaya Journal 9: Learning Languages on the Run

We headed out for my final run, our second run of the day— an easy 40 minutes through farm fields and forest. In Ethiopian running culture, groups of runners run in a single line. I have never asked the exact reason for this, but would guess it is because the terrain can be narrow and unpredictable. There is also a system in which everyone points to the ground or snaps their fingers when crossing an uneven patch of land — alerting the person behind them to tread cautiously. Despite running in a line formation, laughter and chatter provided the soundtrack …

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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Running

Yaya Journal 8: Will They Be Olympians?

“Are they Olympic Material?” I have received this question numerous times by curious friends. I reply with a muddled “no,” explaining that I am not diminishing the girl’s running abilities, but explain that is not the aim of the Yaya Girls Program. The goal of the Yaya Girls Program is not to make olympians, but instead to focus on fostering the development of these young women in numerous other arenas. Let me describe the greater Ethiopian running culture in order to full explain why this is: Before coming to Ethiopia, I did not realize how many people in Ethiopia are …

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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Running

Yaya Journal 7: Altitude

Living and training at 8,858 ft is no joke! Before coming to Ethiopia, numerous people in the running community offered me advice for transitioning to and sustaining my training at such high altitude. Here is a list of some of my findings from my experience, along with the helpful tips that were offered to me: Start SLOW: Coach Roy Benson, co-founder of Green Mountain Running Camp and ROO Podcast interviewee, offered this advice when he knew I was headed to Ethiopia. He said, “Start so slow on a run you almost feel like you are walking.” Starting slow meant not …

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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Food/Nutrition Journal

Yaya Journal 6: Sharing Food

In Ethiopia, many meals are shared from a communal dish in which everyone eats with their right hand. In contrast, growing up in the United States, I had been accustomed to eating with a fork and knife, and from my own plate. As a celiac, I am often cautious about sharing food with others, due to fear of cross contamination from gluten, which could get me very sick. As a vegan, I frequently plan in advance before going out to dinner to make sure that a restaurant has menu options for me. Being a celiac-vegan in Ethiopia has turned out …

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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Uncategorized

Yaya Journal 5: The Great Run – A Running Party

What a day the Great Run was! Instead of being called the Great Race, it is called the Great Run. It did not feel like a race, but more like a running experience. Let me explain: Instead of having a bib, participants in the run wore a red shirt that they received at registration. When I arrived in Addis, an hour before the race was due to start, the sea of red shirts were already in full-on party mode. In the States, people are often very solemn and nervous before the start of a race. In comparison, the Great Run …

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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Uncategorized

Yaya Journal 4: Be Strong

During my first week in Ethiopia, fellow runners would call out “ayzos” to me on the trails. I was confused since it sounded like “Achoo!” I soon learned that ayzos is an Amharic expression that means “be strong.” This past weekend I took a four hour intensive Amharic class that covered basic words and phrases. Ayzos was included and even made it to the top ten most frequently used Amharic words on the teacher’s handout. Dil, the teacher, explained that ayzos was not only an expression of fortitude, as in the case of “keep running!,” but also a way to …

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