The Yaya Village Hotel and running program is located in the Woreda (District) of Sululta in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The community is called Woserbi. It’s small, made up mostly of ramshackle houses, a few bunna bets (coffee houses), dirt and rocky roads. Many local women are seen carrying up to 30 branches of wood strapped to their back down to Addis every day, only to make 50-60 Ethiopian Birr (2-3$).
Though many of the Yaya girls come from such upbringings, they do get to experience the facilities in their time at Yaya that foreigners are able to indulge in – the modern gym facilities, prepared meals, etc. It’s an interesting, and at times difficult, contrast to cope with – the beautiful facility of Yaya and the poor surrounding neighborhood.
In order to negotiate some of the discomforts that arise from such a contrast the Yaya Girls have begun working with a running group from the school across the street. Every week they will teach a class derived from the lessons they are learning in the GOAL program, and integrate a running component as well.
The first week started out with a simple warm-up activity, followed by a thorough walk-through of their plyometric routine. The following week, the girls were keen on introducing a Hygeine lesson to the children at the school, after seeing that some of them seemed to not have been exposed to such information before.
They spoke to them about the importance of washing hands after using the bathroom, keeping finger nails on the shorter side, and not coughing into hands while one is sick. They then gave a demonstration about how to properly wash hands.
We hope that the 15 boys and 15 girls in the program will subsequently benefit from the Yaya Girls program in ways both physical and emotional. These lessons are both a good opportunity for the Yaya Girls to practice leadership and exercise the practicality of what we learn in GOAL, as well as cultivate a strong relationship between the local community, the hotel, and the program.
By Hannah Borenstein, Yaya Girls’ Program Coordinator