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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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Uncategorized

Yaya Journal 3: If You Can’t Run, Walk.

During the past month of being at the Yaya Village, I have been sick twice with bad stomach ailments. These illnesses have been humbling experiences and have left my body in a fragile state. Although I believe that being a runner means pushing one’s boundaries, being sick has taught me the importance of respecting my limits. I have been forced to listen to my body by resting and not running. At the Yaya Hotel, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Julia Bleasdale, an accomplished professional runner and Olympian from the UK. During my return back to health, …

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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Uncategorized

Yaya Journal 2: Surface Strength

I am not ready to write an in-depth blog post on why Ethiopia is filled with some of the best runners in the world. I have only been here for two weeks and just begun to skim the surface of this phenomenon. Here in Sululta, in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, the majority of the surfaces people run on are made of dirt, pebble, and wooded trails. The foot and lower leg intelligence that is required to navigate the uneven terrains of the majority of runs requires strength—and that underlying strength to run efficiently on this rocky ground is developed …

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Ethiopia: Yaya Journal Journal Uncategorized

Julia’s First Three Impressions

It has been over two weeks since I Ianded at the Yaya Village in Sululta, Ethiopia. The Yaya Girls are to arrive in less than two days and we have been eagerly preparing for their arrival. I have had numerous first impressions of the incredible Yaya Village but since I love things in threes (see my post about the three Ls of learning, loving, and living), I will distill my initial reflections into three areas. 1. Culture of Kindness: Since the moment I arrived in the middle of the night and Xavier, the executive director program, picked me up from …

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Journal Spirituality Tuesday Truths

Wall of Inspiration

When packing for my journey to Ethiopia, I spent a lot of time thinking about how much different items weighed and the space they would take in my suitcase. I decided to pack some of the lightest, yet most important items I own— my paper inspirations that I have put up in my dorm rooms throughout all four years of college. I have found the easiest way to put up pictures, postcards, and art is in a close-line style with miniature clips. I made a Wall of Inspiration for my room in the Yaya Village that both motivates and grounds me. …

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