Post from Ashley: Love4Gambia team Nurse and Runner-in-Training
July 15th, 2011 4:35 PM
Rest Day is so important for the team! Rest for Erin’s beaten up body is important, but I think equally important is rest for the whole team. On run days, we are all up, packed, ready to run/cheer/mix Gatorade/drive/honk our way through Gambian villages before 7AM. While this may not sound that labour intensive, it is good for us all to have a day that we need not rush.
Our rest really started last night after we lugged our things from the staff quarters where we were staying at Jakhaly Health Centre to the guest house there. It was also then Erin and I realized we must really like each other because when given the option by Kebba to stay in our own rooms instead of together… we awkwardly looked around… and finally Erin says “Umm… that’s okay” I quickly nod in agreement- we’ll share a room (Paris and Nicole don’t like to be separated).
After getting settled in, I tried to sneak off to buy the rest of Erin’s birthday present but she insisted on putting on her birthday dress and coming along. So Erin, Pa, Kebba, Fatou (Kebba’s sister that is taking such good care of us here!) and I pile in the truck and go to Brikama Ba. We drive around and luckily Erin is used to not knowing where we are going/doing so doesn’t ask any questions. Kebba and I get out at a random place and a young man leads us to the Bootleggers. I buy Erin’s birthday Julbrew (best beer EVER!) while Kebba tries to tell me to ignore the woman who has been drinking and I think wanted a hug… or maybe a dance? While I’m sneaking around buying booze, Erin is left in the truck while children play “toubab peekaboo” with her. Unfortunately, some Gambian babies, such as this one in this game, don’t like having their face shoved into the toubab’s face. The baby cried every time the children held her up. The children thought this was quite comical… I think Erin was relieved to leave the poor baby in peace when we left.
I got a very enthusiastic hug from Erin when she asked, “Ashley, did you go to the Bootleggers?” and I replied “YES!” We had another great meal prepared by Fatou, Gambian Chicken Yassa (YUM) accompanied by some cold Julbrew. We watched “Running the Sahara” and the guys loved it so much that when it was over they wanted to run all the way to Banjul. We promptly told them that we could not run to Banjul while drinking Julbrew. We run after rest day is complete.
After a good sleep, Erin and I got up around 10:30AM this morning. It was so absolutely delightful that last night we had a cool breeze coming through our window. Even when the electricity went out, it was not too hot to sleep. What a wonderful feeling. Even if we couldn’t sleep, we knew we didn’t have to get up before 6AM =) At 10:30 Erin said to me, “I want to sleep, but I’m so hungry!” That’s when I thought, “YAY, she’s HUNGRY!” but then I remembered we didn’t prepare for waking up on rest day… hmmm… breakfast? Erin gets up and says, “I smell something good.” Our dearest Pa Modu was making us breakfast! We had a fantastic brunch of potatoes and omlettes and akara and tapalapa and COFFEE! (PS-Greg, your camping percolator gadget is the best, I’m buying one the second I get home).
After we enjoyed our breakfast, Erin (aka Ruby the yoga instructor… don’t ask) led us in our yoga practice for the day. I think Erin could have a second career as a yoga instructor. The guys LOVE their yoga lessons. I too thoroughly enjoyed the yoga. It made my legs feel happy. I’m officially a convert to the yoga cult (and it’s not because of the comfy pants). I think the yoga will be an added requirement to our schedule. There is always time for yoga. Namaste!
Our rest day today is ESPECIALLY important because tomorrow morning we start the longest running stretch we will have on this journey. It will be six straight days of running. Six straight days of trying to find time to stretch out tight muscles, perform surgery on Erin’s toes as needed, replenish our continuously disappearing water supply, find enough Vaseline to keep Erin’s skin intact, pound Erin with Gatorade, juice, water and food (Spam for emergencies), wash things that need washing, get meals as quickly as possible, and getting to bed (and sleep) promptly each night all while Erin needs to run 25km each day. And believe me the whole team needs to be present for the run. Sometimes the driver has to also be photographer, and water boy/girl, AND ensure Akon is playing. It’s a busy 25km day.
Since we had such a great rest day at the Jakhaly Health Centre, we are ready for the next six days. Just as our team slogan says, “YES WE CAN!!!”