Yoga Journal Pose of the Day

Saturday, November 29, 2008

freedom

I don't claim to know what is going on. The best I can tell, Teddy Afro is a popular young Ethiopian musician, and some of his music was used by the opposition during the time of the hotly contested 2005 elections, to criticize the Meles' government, in some minds, thus making Teddy even more popular. Many believe that the impact of Teddy's music on Meles' government was such, in particular with the song Yasteseryal, that not only was the song banned in Ethiopia, but it appears Meles has set out to silence Teddy by putting him in jail.

Teddy was arrested and charged with reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident in 2006. Later, a higher court reversed the initial decision to release Teddy on bail. Even though he had been in and out of the country for nearly 18 months while out on bail awaiting trial, performing in the US and elsewhere, the higher court said in its decision that they believed he was likely to flee the country. Teddy maintains his innocence, saying he was not involved in the accident and is not the type of person to flee the scene of an accident. So, Teddy remains in jail, in the undeniably deplorable conditions of Ethiopian jails, waiting for the wheels of justice to grind to a resolution.

That's the best I can do to make out what is happening. The rhetoric on the streets is impassioned and involves such language that even I blush at the personal level of the insults that I hear and read.

It is difficult to trust Meles' government which has a poor record of human rights' abuses since coming to power. Meles faces pressures from all sides, inside and outside the country. The border disputes with Eritrea still fester. Somalia is in chaos and increasingly violent and US and other oil producing nations interests there only add to the stew. Although Meles denies it, he recently gave a large portion of its western lands outright to Sudan (in exchange for what, is not clear.)The Oromia within Ethiopia are restless and their larger numbers worry the other ethic groups in Ethiopia. Meles' policies have worsened the ethnic frictions in Ethiopia, which have in times past been better, even to the point where much intermingling of people, language and customs have taken place. The recent pirate attacks off the Somali coast do not make it any easier for Ethiopia as such a large part of the products it imports come through Djibouti. Meles' situation is difficult indeed, but does not excuse his fear of freedom of speech.

I personally was touched by this during my visit to Addis, to run in the Great Ethiopian Race. I'll fill you in on what happened in a coming post!

...now that I'm back

Now that I'm back, I don't even know where to begin in recounting my experiences in Ethiopia. Each trip I make is different but many elements are the same.

I've said it before. Travel to another place puts things into a perspective that you don't take the time to notice sometimes, in the everyday routine of your life. You don't see the things around you that are beautiful, joyful, funny or terrible, sad, and ugly. You just go through your day, putting things behind wall, into compartments, trying to survive, forgetting to take the time to notice, to be mindful, to truly live your life fully. It is sometimes through travel that the different frame of a different place puts things before your attention that you must notice. It's a challenge, but that must be one of the reasons people travel.

Coming home after a while away, gives you that same perspective, however briefly. You are glad to be home. You notice the big skies. And then you notice the snow covered fields, forests and lakes the plane flies over on it's approach to Toronto, and then the architectural marvels of the complex overpasses of the highways near the airport...At home you appreciate the fact that you made your bed (I do that once in a while!) before you left home and it's good to be home. And you notice that things work: electricity, there is hot water, the toilet flushes...Little things that can be so difficult when in many other countries. You even notice the way you wash your hands is different. And you love the fact that there is some bread in the freezer and your little toaster is so smart and efficient!!

All this is to say, that as I have time, I will talk here about the trip I made to participate in the Great Ethiopian Run in Ethiopia and I will talk about some difficult things. But the reason I want to talk about them must be very clear. I simply want people to notice, to be aware and to believe as I do in a vision that can bring people together. It would be too easy for people to see what I have seen and judge, criticize and tear down. I hope that will not happen, therefore the song.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

busy!!

Frantic.
Busy.
Disorganized.
Packing.
Laundry.
Last minute shopping.
One more sleep...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

training

Troubled Sunday morning dreams, perhaps because hot flashes woke me before the alarm went off and I had a big breakfast at 5:00 am, going back to bed to continue fretting about everything I need to remember to have ready for my upcoming trip to Ethiopia. I dreamed about transport trucks going off the road one after the other in front of me. I dreamed about having minutes to solve the problem of Phyllis Diller hair before having to go to work. I dreamed that my ex-husband (someone I always considered to be an excellent driver not liable to do this) driving a motorhome out of a parking lot, kept repeatedly and carelessly backing into parked cars, acting almost as if the motorhome was a tank!

Just after the alarm went again, the phone rang and my running buddy Jim was asking if I needed a ride this morning.

It was cold and grey and there was a wind with a bite in it. I'm running sans gloves, remember, having lost the second pair I had bought already! (I'm resisting putting on my reallyreallyreally warm fleece mitts until it's minus 20 degrees in January) I pulled the long sleeves of my shirt over my hands, but I'm thinking that long gloves right to the elbow, might be more comfortable. In fact, later at the Second Cup on the corner, I commented to Candace that it would be fun to bug Mary, who despises girly-girls and anything pretty, by wearing long pink satin gloves with lots of sequins sometime...

There are several new people who have joined this 1/2 marathon clinic that I want to get to know. Isn't it fun? You never know how interesting people can be -- or not! until you talk to them!

View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

After the run, I headed to Toronto to have dinner with my Amharic tutor, his wife and step-daughter. I had a marvelous time, catching the absolutely very last train home!

Friday, November 7, 2008

training

I had a late appointment with the chiropractor this afternoon. The taxi driver from Brooklin to Whitby was an Acadian man and me wondering how brave I could be with my French distracted me so that I left my running gloves in the cab. Some of my usual running gang had opted for an earlier and longer run. The handful of us that had come out for this later run in the dark were initially thinking 10 km or so, but Davey G. in his wisdom suggested that a shorter run was in order, for at least two reasons: most of us had done the Niagara 1/2, some had done some speed work the night before, and I was quite sore from the chiropractor's treatment on my IT band.

We agreed to Davey's plan and before we knew it we were nearly half-way and realized that we had run it without doing our usual 10's and 1's, ie. 10 min running, 1 minute walking, which seemed to feel just fine!

And I was also happy to suffer through some ab work with Davey, who believes that a strong core will improve our endurance and our times in the longer races to come.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I wanna tell you...

Sea of Love - Cat Power

My wonderful family, friends and coworkers have been incredible, taking an interest, listening to me as I prattle on about my upcoming trip, and finding ways to help and contribute!

To everybody, I want to say a great big Thank-you!

training

Yesterday evening was a fun run, the first session of a new 1/2 marathon clinic. Crowds came out, some familiar faces that I had not seen much of over the summer, plus the regulars who have been running together since January.

It was a surprisingly warm and humid evening for November. Many leaves are still on the trees.

Mary managed to get confused about the route we had intended to take, therefore you'll see the loop back upon ourselves, before somebody corrected us and we continued on.

With just days until I leave for Ethiopia, I am excited indeed!
Tire Swing - Kimya Dawson

In case you've missed my explanation of the reason for this trip: I will be running the 10 km international Great Ethiopian Run in Addis, November 23/08. I am raising funds for Ethiopia Reads. Click on the link to check out what they do!


View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

training

Pleasant day after the frost burned off the ground. Ran from my chiropractor's office in Brooklin, through some areas that are still actually farm land. Total distance: 12.52 km (map is modified somewhat).
View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Sunday, November 2, 2008

training

I am tired. Terrible shifts at my paying job where we are short-staffed, still being tired from the race last weekend, plus my body trying to heal, I guess from the strain I am experiencing in my IT band and glutes on the right side, have me wondering how the run will go today.

And idiotically, even though I kept reminding myself at work last night to set the clocks back when I got home, I completely forgot. This morning I'm at the Running Room wondering where the hell everybody is, when I realize about the clocks! duh...At least I'm not the only one, finding at least one other fellow in running togs at the coffee shop on the corner with an hour to while away until 8:30 am. I enjoy my time perusing a new artists/writers paper called "surfacing". It has me thinking maybe I should renew my membership in the Durham writers' association. I had let it lapse during the years I spent living way out in the country.

However, about my run, my chiropractor said as long as I don't experience any stabbing pain in that right knee I can run. I wonder how relative one's experience of pain is. I mean, I'm a self-confessed wimp about pain, but is my perception of stabbing pain the same as somebody else's? Oh well. Who cares. I think I am comfortable enough to run.

We start off r-r-e-a- l -l -l - y slowly. This is not fun. I never like the first 5-6 km. I'm out of breath. I can hardly talk. And anybody who knows me, knows this lady likes to talk. But by the time we are at Rossland, I'm feeling better. By the time we reach Taunton, I'm in that happy groove again, which I love!

Turning towards home at Garrard and Taunton, we meet Henry. Now, Henry normally runs far too fast for me. But we happily chat away, the kilometres slip by, and only occasionally do I have to tell Henry that since I can hardly gasp for breath AND talk, we are going too fast. He kindly slows down.

It's a great run for me. I'm ecstatic. I feel good. And I faithfully stretch in the warmth of the store afterwards, before we head to the corner coffee shop for our compulsory cup of coffee.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com