Short Stories: The time I stopped running to Wush Wush

Looking back on some of the times here I’ve realized there are so many things i’ve forgotten to share. That’s one of the strangest epiphanies I’ve had recently. The surreal seems ordinary now. The poverty and even death i’ve seen are parts of everyday existance. If i were to witness something today a few years ago it would have been life changing. At least newsworthy. Now its just a tuesday.

So as a recurring feature I’ll throw up some short stories and observations on my blog. Up first: a pretty hilarious/frightening exchange that happened a few months back when I was training for a half marathon.

I needed a place to run to and train. I set Wush-Wush as my goal, a town about 17 km away. Over a month I would get closer and closer until I was ready for the race. Wush-Wush is the perfect destination. In this hilly area, the run is relatively flat and not very populated, meaning less harassment from kids as I ran. Also, Wush-Wush is ridiculously awesome. It looks like heaven. It is the center of tea production in Ethiopia. The tea grown there is pretty delicious. Also, the fields of tea leaves are bright green, resembling Asian rice fields but with more color.

So I started running that direction. But the first day someone told me I should not run that direction as I passed. At least that’s what I thought he said in Amharic. I wasn’t sure. My next run, people kept calling me “Ambessa.” It’s a compliment here that means they think you are strong. Locals say it if you are very intelligent for instance, or carrying something heavy. Literally, “Ambessa” means lion.

I smiled. A quick boost of self esteem. The light came on the next day. A neighbor walked up to me.

“weda wush-wush ba igir iya rotkih naber?” he asked me.

Yes I replied. I was in fact going to wush wush on foot the day before. I added that i was training for a race.

You can’t go that way he cried. he looked serious.

“menged lay, ambessa yinoral!!”

translation: — Lions live on the way to wush-wush!. He continued, “They hang out by the road. You will be eaten for sure.”

And that’s the  story of when I stopped running to Wush Wush.


3 comments on “Short Stories: The time I stopped running to Wush Wush

  1. Oh that is too funny! What a great short story. I am looking forward to more already!
    It is so interesting the differences between cultures and languages. I was recently in El Salvador, my first time in a foreign land, and saw firsthand some of the big differences in the way things are expressed.

  2. Martha Grano says:

    I am so glad you weren’t eaten Michael!
    Hey, FYI We have just hosted a powdered glass bead maker from Ghana! His name is Nomoda E. Djaba, but he is called ‘Cedi’. Cedi spoke in Denver and brought lots of beads to show us and sell. We had a great time.
    Wish we could see you in August!

  3. Mom says:

    OK, Mike, I really enjoyed this story, until I started to think about it; now I’can’t think about it at all. Mike, Be Safe!!! We are so anxious to see you! Do NOT run to Wush Wush. And pay attention!
    I love you, Michael!

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