Here is a quick highlight of my last week here in Addis:
1. I went and visited the Running Across Borders Team one last time. I collected the letters that the girls team wrote for the Cross Country/Track Team at Sidwell Friends School in DC. It was sad saying goodbye to them. I really enjoyed spending time with that team.
2. Teddy finally finished his exams so the entire weekend was spent hanging out with him and his friends. We went clubbing again on Saturday. Like last time there was no light at the house but I was a bit smarter this time and I got ready while it was still light outside. We went to a couple of different clubs and then passed out at his friend’s apartment. A nice step up from sleeping in the car haha.
3. The GRAND FINALE! Drum roll please… after 4 weeks of trying to get permission to interview the national team I finally received a written document giving me the approval I needed.
I met the team at the hotel they are staying at in CMC. Most of the team is currently training for the World Championship in Berlin next month. So I got to the hotel and hung out with them while they ate breakfast and got ready for their workout.
We then took a huge bus to the Stadium for practice. I had been to the stadium countless times during my stay in Ethiopia but this time was significantly different. There are multiple billboards in front of the stadium with pictures of famous Ethiopian athletes on them. As I looked up at the pictures I realized that I had met or was now sitting with every one of those athletes.
As I sat watching some of the world’s fastest runners do a tempo run around the track, I couldn’t help but think back on my entire trip here. How did an undergraduate student doing summer research end up being able to watch the national team practice and later interview them? I have no idea. It was a surreal experience.
Teddy helped me interview some of the girls team. I was glad that he was able to help me translate. It was really cool for him to be able to come and see the runners. He was so nervous about even entering the stadium. Most people don’t get to come in there unless there is a sporting event. He didn’t even want to come with me onto the track because he had never been allowed to go down there before. I really enjoyed being able to share that with him.
We also met with Dr. Wolde Meskel. He’s the famous head coach of the national team. I think my favorite interview was with Meseret Defar. On my trip I have interviewed over 40 female athletes and the majority of them said that Meseret was their role model. It was really interesting to hear her point of view and talk with her for a bit. I feel so lucky to have been able to interview her.
All and all the research aspect of this trip has been a huge success. Granted there have been a few mishaps like the fact that after calling almost every day for 2 months I still couldn’t set up an interview with the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association. But you win some, you lose some.
Well that’s a brief glimpse into my last week here. I leave for the US tonight. Thanks for reading the blog and leaving me some comments. Please check out the links to the different foundations I worked with while on this trip. They are doing some really great things for women and runners here in Ethiopia.