Laughter is the Best Medicine… Until you Sprain your Laughing Muscle

Post from Ashley:

The Love4Gambia Team (Erin, Ashley. Kebba, Pa Modu and AKON) have a lot of laughs each day. I’m sure that what we find hilarious probably is not quite as funny written in a blog, described on the telephone or viewed in a video recording. Some things you just have to be there. That’s what helps hold this team together so strongly. If you’ve ever travelled with a group, you know there are often things about your fellow group members that drive you crazy after some time… it’s hard to travel with other people.

We here at Love4Gambia have been doing very well getting along despite being tired, hot, sore and coping with the frequent issues that arise while travelling across a developing nation. While Kebba and I argue about how much he is allowed to run, it’s all in love (and not wanting to have to nurse anyone back to life this early in the game). So here we are on our ninth running day- at the completion on this run, we will have run 231km, over half way to Banjul and just under 200km to go. I know that we can get to the finish and still like each other at the end because the first half has been filled with such laughter.

I know we already made you a funny list,but  it grows each day.

More things we find funny:

Location of AKON cassette interrogations by Agent Pa Modu Sarr

Erin’s worsening lack of shame while changing behind trees with less and less coverage

Multiple types of shit jokes/shitting in trousers

Being so tired/hypoglycemic that 1) Erin throws her garbage in our laundry bucket after I tell her where the garbage is 2) then throws perfectly good contact lenses on floor and turns around to 3) find me spraying on toner as perfume.

I thought I had a really bad stitch but discovered it was always there, even while not running… laughing injury perhaps?

My teammates thought it was funny watching a donkey get stuck hanging in the air because his cart was heavier than him and his owners could not seem to get him down (I did not share the laughter in this one, it was SAD!)

Answering questions inappropriately with “jamarek” which means “I’m fine” because I have poor wolof vocabulary.

Donkeys make all kinds of noises… none of which are depicted by Disney.

While toubabs love babies… they don’t always love us… we’re scary white monsters.

When a monkey stops to look at you, they often point their butt at you as if to say, “Kiss this!”

Any time someone seriously uses the word “unscrupulous”, it’s funny. Just sayin’

Now, its 10:33 AM and things are less funny. Erin ate such a good breakfast of Banana Milk (whole milk with banana flavour, a good amount of tapalapa and a cookie that her belly is now revolting. It is NOT accepting its scheduled energy gel and it is not accepting acceptable quantities of Gatorade. Nurse Ashley not panicking. I can always force feed her later. Now is not the time. Erin confessed to me the other day that while she was running, she threw up. A lot. In her mouth. And swallowed it. I  find this horrifyingly gross. She said she couldn’t waste the fluids/energy and really couldn’t drink another litre of her despised Gatorade and energy drink. I don’t want her to swallow barf again, so I’ll let her take it easy on the Gatorade this run. Break we will have to get lots of juice/energy drinks into her because this morning after we finally got started (after an ENORMOUS thunder/lightening /rain storm) it was very humid, so sweat loss was high. Erin says if she were home in Canada right now, she’s be lying on her bed, not running.

10:50 AM update. Erin barfed in her mouth. Damn that’s gross. Is it wrong to take photos of her while she’s feeling unwell? Oops, too bad I already did. But Pa and Kebba just dressed the car in leaves/tree branches like the president’s vehicles are… that should cure her. She just needs an appropriately dressed entourage vehicle behind her. Surely her gut will stop barfing with that. It can’t hurt. I don’t know if her Shotski Mantra is helping the barfing thoughts though… hmmm.

We made it to rest time! Erin is trying to get through her energy gels and a fresh batch of Lemon-Lime Gatorade. It’s slow, but she’ll get there. Pa and Kebba are resting and trying to keep the kids from overtaking Erin’s rest/personal space. We hit 20km on the outskirts of a village so there is little privacy- toubabs always attract a crowd of kids.

4:15 PM I had planned to run 2/5km recovery run to make 7km total today as per Coach Erin’s orders after my big (for me) 10km run day yesterday. Erin still was not feeling well after our rest as we started out on the recovery run. We chatted about some of the funny things above, and the metres flew by. We laughed so hard that I forgot that running is hard. I laughed so hard I cried. Then a group of boys joined us and ran the rest of the 2km with us… barefoot. We were at 2km at the top of a hill and I felt okay to leave Erin, she was feeling much better. Laughter (and kids!) really is the best medicine, at least temporarily. Erin still doesn’t feel great but she snacked, finished her Gatorade and is now napping like a good patient. Now I just need to wait for more good material for any future tough days.

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10 Responses to Laughter is the Best Medicine… Until you Sprain your Laughing Muscle

  1. CathyC says: are doing an AMAZING job: thank you so much for taking care of Erin and Team Love4Gambia.
    I can not even begin to comprehend what it must feel like to do this, and the barfing in the mouth and swallowing…oh my…
    Is there anything/anything at all that Erin can stomach the thought of? I wish there was more that I could say or do to make her magically feel better: but so glad that you have laughter, and an amazingly strong Gambian team.
    If there is anything I can bring you to the finish line, please let me know: you name it..anything….
    Lots of love,
    (PS: And I will hug you all in person one week from tomorrow 🙂 xo

  2. Mel Connors says:

    Great post Ashley! Please tell me more about the Shotski mantra!!!! Erin, I hope you feel better for tomorrow!!

  3. Gina says:

    Oh gosh, I hope my Shotski mantra didn’t add any difficulty to the day!!! Focus on Sue climbing on the chair to reach the shotski, rather than actually shooting the shots from the shotski if that helps. Hahahahaaaa!!
    Hang in there Erin…you’re making us all very very proud!!
    xoxoxox G

  4. Laura says:

    Erin, it’s kind of gross that you would rather swallow your own vomit rather than drink more gatorade! I have a feeling that you will never be able to enjoy gatorade after this experience.

  5. Kate Keast says:

    Erin! I really hope you feel better! I am praying for you! YOU CAN DO IT!
    #1 Fan, Kate

  6. Megan Aston says:

    You’re a great nurse, friend, runner and comedian Ashley! It sounds like you’re taking good care of Erin in more ways than one. I hope everyone has a good rest tonight, and your tummy feels better tomorrow Erin. You are two strong and amazing women!! I am so proud to know both of you!

  7. Cheryl Sharpe says:

    Awsome Girls! Hope Erin is feeling better tomorrow. You are on the home stretch just focus on 1Km at a time. I am so proud of both of you. Be safe and have a great run tomorrow. I will be looking forward to your next blog.
    Love Mom(Cheryl)

  8. Dawn Hughes says:

    Erin and Ashley I hope the remaining run days feel better than this one. You are two tough and amazing ladies. Pa and Kebba have their hands full……. Take care everyone.

  9. Philip Rosson says:

    200 kms done. Wow! Amazing achievement and stories you two. Good to hear you are laughing–I liked the donkey in the air tale better than the barf one.

    Stay well and strong. We are so proud of what you both and what you are doing.


  10. Charles says:

    If it’s the heat, too bad. If Gatorade is causing problems then I’d suggest mixing up a custom sports drink. Getting a drink that matches your body’s need can make a huge difference. I find drinking large volumes of Gatorade to not be nice on the stomach. I figured out what works with by starting with water adding different amounts of a salt. Some people sweat lots of salt which makes Gatorade not good enough. Others sweat very little salt which makes Gatorade too much. It pretty much just water sugar, salt, flavoring, dye.

    Keep up the good work !


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