Friday, November 30, 2007

El Hasho

So, one of the first things we did when we got to Lilongwe was join the Hash. Many of you are probably familiar with the Hash House Harriers, a running club that has almost 2,000 chapters all over the world. Its slogan is “drinkers with a running problem.” The basic gist of the hash is that course is set by a “hare,” and the “hounds try to find the correct path. At certain spots, the trail diverges, and there will be several options of paths to take. You send out the runners, and they look for markings that show whether the path is the correct one or a dead end.

So on most Mondays at 5 o’clock, you can find a pack of white people running through the fields of Malawi, Malawians staring after them, pointing and laughing.

Jorge is known as a “front-runner,” because he’s one of the faster, fitter runners in the group. He’s also known as Don Jorge the Colombian, for other reasons. A couple times in the past, he has been asked to “hare” or lead the run. Both times, it did not go well.

The first time, he helped set the course. Jorge created the run that he would like – very few stops, and nice long stretches of uninterrupted running. People hated it. Turns out they like the stops, the slackers.

The second time, he led the runners along a course that ended up at our friend Ali’s big overland truck. The runners were treated to a ride back to the start of the course, with drinks and festivities. Until the truck ran out of gas, and they all had to run back in the dark.

So the pressure was on when we agreed to host the hash at our house last week. The day before the run, Jorge went out and marked the trail in cake flour, putting in lots of stops and tricky checkpoints.

But that night, the rain finally decided to show up. It stormed for hours. All that remained of Jorge’s carefully laid course were occasional blobs of grey, sticky flour paste.

So back he went, diligent leader that he is, and re-set the course all over again. Fortunately it did not rain again that day. The runners all found their way, I led the walk, and we all ended up happily in our parking lot drinking beer (or diet coke in my case) and socializing with friends. We even managed to order up a spectacular sunset. Success at last.


KreativeMix said...

great blog :-)