Running as fast as we can...
The Start Line
The first hopefully annual Kucove Race happened this past Saturday. Juliet, the Volunteer who works in Kucove (which is a medium sized city close to Berat), organized a 2 kilometer race. Of course Juliet didn't do it all by herself, though I am 100% she could have. She's an amazing worker. I swear she does the work of at least 5 of us. The event was sponsored by a local bank. Getting local sponsorship is a major success in and of itself . Juliet's Girls Leadership group was the main group of organizers. She got the local municipality involved and the Youth Center, funded by Save The Children, and of course other Peace Corps Volunteers.
The race was a success. Over 200 people participated, including about 20 Volunteers, some traveling 7 hours to participate in the event. Kinda makes my 40 minute bus ride not very impressive. There were some problems too, like about half of the boys in the under 14 group cheating by cutting through a park. They weren't very smart about it. The hill in the park was steeper than the road course.
Several Volunteers ran in the race for fun. We weren't allowed to win any of the prizes, though some of us did manage to score a free t-shirt. We did our part by running at a good pace and NOT cheating. At one point I stopped to grab a kid I saw emerging from the park. I told him "No" and physically turned him around and pointed to the bottom of the road.
The race even with its problems was a great event. Physical exercise is not common in Albania. This was just the beginning. Now the foundation has been laid for future events. Baby steps, that's what we're all about.
A slightly sweaty James rehydrating while speaking to Volunteer extraordinaire Juliet