at least a thousand words


victory locks?

photographed by yours truly, in kotido town whilst shopping for a charcoal stove. the irony of victory locks just struck me as funny. and, upon further reflection, as a little sad.


c25k: i’ve lost track of week 4…

pre run jam (while i chased the dumb dog around the airstrip outside the compound) “tic tok” by my gurl ke$ha. don’t hate.

after 15 minutes and over 1,000 steps i caught freddie mercury (the dumb dog) and took her home, chained her up, and got the “real workout” underway.

it has been raining every afternoon for about a week, which up to now has only made for squishy-ish running. the sand in the bush has been soft but not quick-sand-like, adding a nice spring to my step.

that is until yesterday when apparently the ground soaked up the magical amount of water to create mud. about half way to the bridge i happened upon (into is probably more apt…) a massive mud…pit. to go around it i’d have had to have gone all the way to the road about a quarter of a mile away and in the moment that just seemed silly. the pit was only about 50 meters across so i figured i’d slog through and just be done with it.

easier said than done.

i did NOT fall down. i did, however, slide sideways at one point and i think i heard myself make some sort of squeak/squawk noise over the techno.

the interval was a running one and i did my best to keep moving in at least a jogging pace…once the mud pit was cleared i did my best to keep running until the interval changed to a walking one.

this provided some interesting running steps as i was trying to continue running and shake some of the 3 inches of mud off the bottom of my sneakers at the same time.

run a few steps, jump jump jump, run a few steps, STOMP STOMP STOMP. repeat.

once the walking interval toned in i paused the podcast and scraped some of the worst of the mud on a poor little thorn bush and kept moving.

this didn’t really have much of an effect, though, as it felt like there were weights around my ankles for the remainder of the run.

rather than tempt the gods who control falling by slogging back through the mud pit, i opted for the ‘easier’ route by the road.

this led to a tractor driver “racing me” and then later on a different road, nearly running me over with his scary tractor. yikes.

post running play-list
1. “bowls” by caribu (such. an. awesome. song.)
2. “go outside” by cults
3. “by your side” GAYNGS (if you like bon iver, i think you’ll like them. and if you don’t like/know bon iver then i question how it is that we are friends.)
4. “answer in one of these bottles” caitlin rose
5. “he needs me” van dyke parks

c25k: week 4 run 5

so its been exactly a week since my last run–a lovely dry-season-chest-infection has kept me home all week coughing and feeling miserable. wednesday was a ‘test’ day, an hour’s worth of yoga was mostly successful so i decided i am indeed on the mend and ran today!

admittedly my decision to do this run once more on sunday is akin to when your mum knocked/pounded on your door before school (or in my case flipped the light off and on) and you mumbled those famous words, “5 more minutes, mom!”  (which i never actually did, i just took them. and the punishment at school. and home. never really learned…). this is my “5 more minutes” and it is mu inalienable right to take them. (I’M 27, YOU CAN’T STOP ME!)

as i went out from home today i was running towards the setting sun, through the bush that looks drastically different after a week’s worth of rain. what was once a flat and smooth path now resembles a river bed strewn with rocks and debris and is far from smooth anymore. the sand is damp and has a nice give to it, the air was fresh and cool and the sun setting through the clouds-brilliant.

rounding a corner during the first interval i saw a tiny little toddler toddling toward the road with her little hand thrust out. slowing to a walk i took out my earbuds, paused the music and shook her tiny little hand. her head barely came just below my knee. i asked, “how are you?” and received a surprising little whisper of “fine.” i greeted her in ngakarimajong “toyai” and was very pleased with a SHOUTED “EJOK!” huge grin. (oh, her and me.) turning,  i offered a wave to her waiting older sister who then got up the courage to shout, “BYE MZUNGU!” i grimace/smiled said “bye…” and resumed the run.

after reaching the cattle market and turning towards home (1/2 way) my was greeted by a large rainbow touching down somewhere near sliding rock. only part of it was visible–but it was very wide and i could see all the colors very vividly. the top faded into a beautiful navy/almost black cloud making for another brilliant view.

at one point, when i turn for about a quarter of a mile, i could see both the setting sun and the rainbow. it was the perfect time to pause, soak up the crooked still song i was listening to (mountain jumper) and revel in the timing of the lyrics to my surroundings:

“On the high ground, shaken by a low sound,
the desert looming in the distance

Looking at the sunlight dying through the blackened ridge
Water out of nowhere, flying through the air, I see the tidal wave and I’m under
Holding in my breath I sink into the desert sea”

not a bad reintroduction back to running after a week off, if i do say so myself.

all songs are by crooked still from the album: ‘shaken by a low sound.’ THANK YOU  and HT to elizabeth for introducing me to crooked still + all the other awesome music you’ve gifted me with!

1. ecstasy
2. mountain jumper
3. can you hear me callin’
4. little sadie

c25k: week 4 run 4

yes, you are correct in thinking that each week’s interval set should be completed three times, and i am indeed reporting my fourth run of this kind for this week.

my schedule has been wonky the past two weeks and every other of these intervals have been done at elevations that are different enough that i’ve messed with my body’s perception of this particular interval.

yesterday was the actual running day and i ran in kaabong–at an elevation of around 5000 feet–which is higher than kotido. not to mention that kaabong has something kotido doesn’t: HILLS.

i ran between rock formations that are unique to kaabong (photos pending…) and through a dry river bed, up a huge hill to a view that was so stunning i literally stopped in my tracks to take a 360˚ video of the late evening sun playing along the mountains. beautiful.

can’t really judge the difficulty of this interval because there are just too many things that were different (elevation, hills, getting lost… etc.).

probably going to take this interval set to 6 runs before jumping into week 5’s three different workout sets. only time will tell!

c25k: week 4 run 3

better. much, actually. still going to go ahead and repeat this run at least twice more, but that is quite alright.

it has been raining (highly unseasonable!) off and on a little since sunday late afternoon–it rained off and on for most of the day so was actually nice and cool when i went out around 6. the breeze pushing me home post run was even almost “cold” (for kotido standards, anyway).

i’m a little “in my head” right now, kind of in a strange place so we’ll go straight to the:

post interval soundtrack:
from the playlist called “sigh.”

1. “rain” by patty griffin from the album 1000 kisses
2. “skinny love” by bon iver from the album for emma, forever ago
3. “your song” covered by ellie goulding found in the uktop 40 19-12-2010
4. “paper wings” by gillian welch from the album revival
5. “hello love” by the be good tanyas from hello love
6. “the one i love is gone” by katie melua from the house
7. “dust and water” by antony and the johnsons from the crying light

c25k: week 4 run 2

i’m getting too confused keeping track of the number of total intervals completed, so i’m moving to this new numbering system that should be a lot easier on my poor brain.

okay, so today was easier than the other day in moroto, but still pretty difficult. however: i truly dug deep and pushed myself. i. did. not. walk. and i count that as a) improvement and b) success. i focused on the fact that i’m certainly stronger than when i started and that with each time i hit the trail i just get better. (fitter = thinner, too! yay!)

it rained for a bit this afternoon and so the rare “humidity” reared its ugly head. it was soon swept away by the evening winds and i watched the sun sinking behind the rain clouds in abim. stunning. i wish i could run with my camera and capture some of the things that i see in the bush. (maybe on an “off” day soon i’ll walk out there and photograph it for you people. karamoja is really quite something. beautiful in her stark, sandy flatness; the light playing off the hills of abim and the mountain torror. stunning, really.)

because this week has been difficult thus far, and because my schedule has been totally wonky it might be in my best interest to repeat until its a bit more comfortable. next weeks travel schedule also promises to muck-up my running time so, yes. there’s that.

i go the same distance every time i go out, which means that i have some distance to walk back after the run/walk intervals. i choose a different playlist or album to listen to for the trip a new part of these c25k posts (hopefully making it a bit more worth your time in reading) i’m going to post my ‘post interval soundtrack’ at the bottom of each report. thusly:

post interval soundtrack 3/5/11:
this playlist was recently created for a dear friend, who i suspect will recognize it.

1. “don’t fu*king tell me what to do” by robyn, from her album body talk pt 1
2. “harder you get” by the scissor sisters, from the album night work
3. “beautiful” by nneka, from her album victim of truth
4. “we won’t run” by sarah blasko, from her album as day follows night
5. “hang on in there” by john legend and the roots, from the album wake up!
6. “answer in one of these bottles” by caitlin rose found on daytrotter. (5/27/2010)



there have been some changes in the diocese leadership lately, and some changes in pastor placements as well. these changes and my impending transition back to the united states and the united methodist church have got me thinking a lot about gifts, fruits of the spirit, manifestations of the imago dei in we simple human beings.

in paul’s letter to the ephesians we read that “the gifts [the lord] gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saits for the work of ministry, for building up the body of christ…” (ephesians 4:11-12)

something that gives me great joy is to affirm the gifts and talents of others. to see the unique ways that god has gifted individuals and communities–to affirm and encourage the continued development and use of those gifts. this is one of my favorite parts of being in and living in [a] community.

my communities of the years have repeatedly affirmed my gift of encouragement, and i know the joy and fulfillment i feel when i use this gift. one of the most beautiful things about being “an encourager” is that it is always “other-centered”. encouraging is never about me–it is always about affirmation of someone or a community and being used as conduit of god to offer words of encouragement and well, affirmation. (apologies for potential over use of the word ‘affirmation’ i’m a wesleyan methodist, its in my nature!)

last sunday in church, the song leaders began a song (i believe in lwo) and the congregation was sort of halfheartedly singing along. one of our church of uganda pastors who was visiting that week came forward and began to lead the song. at first i glanced to the woman who had been leading-thinking “goodness, how rude that this fellow would just come forward and hijack the leadership like that!” and searching her face for similar feelings. and wondering if i should speak with this pastor after church about this sort of behaviour.

but then i noticed something. the congregation. had come. alive. they were really singing and really clapping. not just going through the motions but really worshiping through the song. this is not to say that the woman leading before was doing a bad job. not at all, she did a beautiful job leading us in song. this isn’t to say, either, that the congregation wasn’t engaged in meaningful worship before. my point is that one of this pastor’s gifts is leading a congregation in worshiping through song.

his face was full of light–he was in tune with the congregation and led them to where they needed to be–and he was clearly filled with joy to be doing what he was doing.

glancing back at the woman who had been leading before i noticed that she was also grinning, she was singing louder–clapping with more enthusiasm–ululating and dancing.

my response, of course, was to cry. and i will freely admit to you, reader, that reliving the scene now brings tears to my eyes again. when we move our selfish selves out of the way and let the spirit move through ours and others gifts beautiful things happen. we move into a thin-space where we are just that much closer to god.

another illustration:  yesterday evening i was invited to a neighbor’s house for porridge and conversation.  (an aside, yes, i like porridge. as long as i can put a little sugar in it i’m quite content to drink it for a meal.) we were three– rev. r.o. and j.l. one of rev r’s grandsons is living with him and his wife, mama o. little r is coming to 3 years old and is in the baby-class at a local primary school. watching rev. r with little r is just beautiful.

little r loves his granddad (he calls him daddy) and wants to be everywhere daddy goes. and rev r uses nearly every moment as a teaching moment. telling little r how good boys behave, and how jesus wants us to act as his followers. rev r asks little r questions and engages him in his decision making. he gives little r options and they come to decisions together. rev r is has the gift of teaching. the gift of loving.

admittedly until he was transferred to our church here in kotido he wasn’t one of my favorite people in the diocese. for a while he was just working in the diocese offices and i’d cringe when he’d knock on my door. looking back now i see that he wasn’t using his true gifts–and that makes us unhappy, even if we are unaware of why we are feeling unfulfilled. he is now the vicar of our church and living into his gifts as teacher and organizer of a congregation. seeing his gifts shine in the church and now with his little grandson have proven to me, yet again, that when we are allowed to truly use our gifts the world really can be a better place.

the office is a better place to be, his and my relationship alone is much happier and grace-filled than it was before, and the gradual changes he is bringing to the church are, i believe, truly going to make it a more holy and faithful place to worship.

it has been my joy to be able to affirm both of these pastors, and the mama who stepped aside in leading songs last week. to affirm that yes, you do this very well. and god gave you that gift, please continue to use it!

what gifts do you see in the people around you?

what gifts do you see in  yourself?

how can you affirm your neighbor’s gifts and talents today?


c25k: seven, eight, nine

internet excitement and being away from home = less than timely blogging. mea culpa.

lets work backwards: run nine (first day of week 4) was yesterday (tuesday the first). i was supposed to have gone on monday but had to stay in my office until around 7p waiting for participants of the workshop in moroto. (and then had people coming to the house until around 8. sigh.)

i’m not sure if it was because i was running a new place (i’m currently in moroto), the altitude difference (i believe its higher here), the lack of stretching, the new routine or what–but this run was difficult. i even ended up walking for about a minute on my second 5 minute run.

in my defense: moroto is HILLY in the bush. kotido is very not hilly. like. at all. as i was running away from town i had to pass by three “local bars”. by this i mean a place near a building or under a tree where the women bring their massive buckets of local brew and people come sit on the ground and forget to practice their moderation. i will never complain about running in the states again as nothing will ever compare to having to go by these 100+ drunk  men. twice. so not going that way tomorrow.

however, something that totally made it worth the push–when i turned around at about half way through the workout i was met with the glorious sight of mount moroto. it was STUNNING to turn around and have this huge mountain. what i saw as i ran away from town was the bush-beautiful in her own right–staring down the tree i determined to be my goal.

not to mention i had zero idea where i was going, and was turning this way and that following random paths in the bush. i got a little lost at one point and had to basically track myself, looking for my shoe prints. (obviously i made it back just fine!)

run eight was in kotido, on saturday. that one was gooooood. i was going farther and faster than before. i was totally confident and felt really great. yep.

run seven also in kotido. the random thing about this interval was i had an extremely (slightly disturbing) vivid memory of running in high school. i played softball, and part of our work out was to run laps around the field complex. there was a little trail that our cleats had beat out in our seemingly endless laps (i remember the phrase from a coach, “run until i get tired”). those work-outs weren’t exactly the highlight of my high school career (that would be graduation day and getting the heck out of dodge).

thankfully with my (albeit spotty) yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices over the years i was able to acknowledge the memories and push them away and focus on the beat and complexity of the music. it is good to move totally on from some things.

tomorrow should be run 10 but i’m worried i won’t get the time to go. our workshop tonight kept us captive until around 8p and there’s no way/no where to run after dark so i’m afraid i’ll have to wait until friday and be totally thrown off. but, it’ll work out. i may have to repeat some of week four but thats quite alright.

and yes, i’m still enjoying it!