Village Life

1 07 2008

After the relative luxury of the lodge (own room, double bed etc) and visits to markets to buy lengths of material etc. Caroline yesterday made her move to the village. This journey was made in the back of a Land Rover (the condition of the vehicle can only be imagined!) over very bumpy dirt tracks.

Her family speak no English at all, but the teacher from the school is near by and seems to be looking after her. Although she did say on the phone today that she had to be careful what she said as the teacher was in close proximity, despite the fact that she has a long walk up a big hill to gain mobile reception – she may have a stalker! Caroline, as you would expect, has already noted the opportunity to do some hill reps using said hill as part of her training!

Her accommodation now consists of a small mud hut. A communal living area with a rug on the floor, and two bedrooms. One for her and one for the family. The ‘hole in the ground’ is communal and does not have a door. The advice to clap if you hear someone coming does not sound too reassuring and she hadn’t used the facilities yet! If I know my wife, she’ll be refusing to drink to avoid the trauma!

The washing/shower area is also communal, and similarly has no door, although it does have “lovely hot water”. She has the material she bought at the market to give some privacy, and I suggested showering in her bikini (Big Brother stylee) to avoid any embarrassment!

She had just had a lunch of potato and beans when I spoke to her, however she says that the family did not have anything to eat themselves. The headteacher, a male, in her school is new to the role so she has a lot to work with. School finishes at 1pm each day so she is a little concerned as to how she will keep herself busy in the afternoons and on the weekends.

She has already spied the school football pitch as a potential training area, but is concerned that she would not be wearing a skirt when she ran. The wearing of a skirt appears to be the thing to do (I assume that doesn’t include the men though!). The teacher, perhaps seeing a means of escape herself, has promised to wear trousers and accompany Caroline as back-up one day – though I don’t think this involved running. It was also suggested that she show people the photos of her running at home so that they would understand the lycra running kit – it must be so strange for them to see such things.

Caroline was hoping to text me a photo from the hill she was standing on when she called. It hasn’t arrived, but she has never been technically gifted when phones are involved!

posted by Neal 

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5 responses

1 07 2008
mimanifesto

It sounds like she’s in for an interesting time ! the food and accomodation are obviously very different from when we were at Stirling in April…
Please pass on my bestest to Caroline – I think it’s sounding like a fantastic experience..

Jaye

2 07 2008
John Kynaston

Hi Caroline

Glad to read you are settling into village life. Make the most of the experience and I’m sure you will make your mark on the school. Look forward to reading more.

Hope you can get out and run!

John

2 07 2008
Andrea

Say hi to Caroline from me. Sounds like she’ll have lots to keep her occupied in the school, maybe it’ll do her good not to be too busy in the afternoons for a change too!

3 07 2008
Kenneth McLaughlin

According to wikipedia there are a couple of Malawian distance runners, namely Catherine Chikwakwa and Smartex Tambala. There is a biography of Malawian athletes on the IAAF site.

9 07 2008
Barbara

Hi Caroline
After reading the climb you had to use your mobile I really appreciate your text.
I like the sound of your wee friend. Just as well he’s only 4.
I can’t imaging running at all at that altitude as it took me all my time to walk up stairs at that height.
Look forward to reading about your adventures.

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