For me to stay sane and in good spirits, it has always been important for me to stay in shape. I never was much of a long distance runner, but due to limited resources, I am now. At least 3 times a week I run about 10km into the ‘ambabivolo’ (counrtyside). Last weekend I topped 24km running, and the Monday before that I biked 42km with my site partner Brad.
It is an interesting experience to go into the ambanivolo. I am already stared at in town, but when I run through some of the small villages it might be their excitement for the week. It is harder for me to communicate with people farther out of town, as they are less educated and speak with more slang and improper grammar. I am not one to be picky about their grammar, I’m sure mine is terrible, but it makes them much more difficult to comprehend. I barely have a grasp on the language as it is.
They also all think I am crazy for working out. This is a cultural difference. They lead such active lives anyway that the thought that someone might want to exercise is very foreign. To them, fat is also a sign of prosperity and health. If you don’t have to sweat in the fields all day, you have enough to eat and time to relax, you want to get fat so everyone knows how good you’ve got it.
I am hoping to send these posts from Fenerieve Est. If you are reading it, it means that I have biked the 46km there to visit my friend Michelle with the two other volunteers from out here in the countryside. It is a struggle to stay healthy here, fighting all the tropical diseases, lack of nutrition, heat and plain laziness, but I am managing. I will be sleeping on Michelle’s floor this weekend. She has rats (as do most volunteers) and some of the rats here carry the bubonic plague. Yes, also known as the Black Plague. If I get it, I promise I’ll let you know what it is like.
21 janvier 2009