The Makonde team men have a ritual of rigorous and adventurous exercise.  We call these rigorous exercises “Afro-Ready Runs” because they are geared towards readying us for Africa.  Not that they actually ready us, but they are a way for us to properly place our anticipation for being in Africa.

Ross Andrew Travis Lake Tanganika

These exercises are never boring.  Some of our activities include trail running, tire flipping, and bike ridding.  We also do other things that don’t have names like our “impromptu two-minute run.” In this exercise each person leads the runners for two minutes of imaginative exercises.  We jump off stuff, do push ups, run through Harding’s buildings (with my dog), pick up random items, or role down a hill.  These are extemporaneous and creative, but can be especially injurious; like the other day when I tried to put my hand on top of a trash can to jump it, but the top was so old that my hand went through the plastic.   I bled–a common Afro-Ready occurrence.

Today our Afro-Ready Run included mud riding our bikes. The mud was too thick to climb the mud mounds because of the rain (we tried),  so we found a deep dug out mud hole filled with water (over our heads), and Travis had the idea of ramping his bike into the pit.   He made it look so fun that we created a mud slide  and enjoyed the water like it was Greers Ferry Lake.  We arrived at the team meeting late and wet.

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