Yaya Journal 9: Learning Languages on the Run

Running On Om

YayaJournal9We 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 for our run— often sounding like a game of telephone. Since this was my last run with the Yaya Girls, they let me set the route at the front of the line, leading the five women on my desired path. Within minutes of running through the first farm field, we…

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