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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Prison Championships-5/30/08

Today was an early day! I met the travel agent at my hotel lobby to pay for my safari on Sunday! i had a quick breakfast and taxi'd my way over to Nyoyo Stadium where the Prison Championship Track & Field event was to be held. I had a seat in the VIP section which was nice because we had individual chairs with plush cushions of red

velvet. The stadium seating is all concrete slab! I sat there trying to catch some rays for a bit but it was a pretty cloudy and cold day! (I hate to go home without any tan at all, I mean, how do I say I was just in Africa for two weeks and still be so white!) Speaking of which, it was rather comical; I was the ONLY white person in the entire stadium so needless to say I was quite noticeable! But everyone was so friendly as always. Any time someone came into the sitting area, they shook hands with everyone else there.

I arrived at 9:20 and the events didn't start until around 11:30, but once they started there was something going on at all times. I have never been to a track & field meet other than in high school so this was very interesting. They had all of the events; hurdles, steeplechase, various distance sprints; long jump; high jump; shotput;
relay races and the 5000 meter race

that Catherine won! (that's her in the blue shorts and white shirt)
(check out the final lap to the left)

The steeplechase was quite interesting; I never noticed that one of the hurdles has a small moat after it so the athletes have to either clear it by a lot or land IN the water! The men and the women both chose the latter! It was pretty funny to watch the difference in styles between the runners!

The day was long but fun. Lunch was served in a separate room and we were called in first before all of the employees working on the field. I was FINALLY able to taste mokimo, although I'm sure it was not as good as Catherine's! After lunch the sitting area filled up a bit more and Catherine's race was not long after. It was fun to watch her run and especially win! At 5:00 people came around to our seats and server a choice of Kenyan tea or cocoa. I had cocoa and it was delicous! You added your own sugar, cocoa and then they poured in hot milk...mmmmmm. They also served cookies and/or pound-cake-like cakes. It was very nice.

The closing ceremony was awesome! All of the athletes came out in uniforms that were color-coded according to the province they run for. They fell into line behind a marching band and literally marched around the track.
As they approached the "VIP" section, we all stood, they all saluted the head prison official, he saluted back and then the lead drill master approached and he and the prison official exchanged some dialogue. The athletes all stood at ease (in Kenya, athletes are recruited by the prison system, police force or army). After a speech given in Swahili they marched into another formation and the band played what I assume was the national anthem (I was not able to confirm that yet but I'm fairly sure) This whole closing ceremony was very cool!

Today was a lot of qualifying heats and only some actual finals. Tomorrow is the bulk of the competition and I'm really looking forward to it! I'll post more then!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was certainly and eyeful, literally. I hope you get this note cause I don't know why the other one didn't go through. Everything you are doing sounds fabulous and will certainly be a trip to remember. I wish I could remember all the spontaneous comments I had after reading all that stuff but I can't. It sounds like Catherine and Anthony have been a big help to you and I am grateful for that. Her family sounds wonderful. I enjoyed your pictures, they are great. We are very excited for you and hope everything works out the way you want it to. Good luck.
    Wish Catherine good luck in tomorrow's race.
    Love, Mom


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