|Into the hills we go|
"And they're off!"
I'm at my first hash harrier's run in months. The dash through the mountains and neighborhoods happens a few times a week. We "chase a hare", a person who runs ahead and marks the trail with little squares of paper and chalk arrows. If you miss the papers - or are diverted by the hare's false trails - you have extra steps to get back on track.
W goes Mondays and often Saturdays. I've always been "too tired" or "too busy" to go. Usually I'm weary after studies, visits, or errands. And by late afternoon, it's hot out. But because a friend especially asked and the day marks Chinese Independence Day, I'm going. No matter what.
|The vegetable seller at the Monday hash|
I'm expecting company at 2. My friend and I have texted back and forth about the visit but my last message (confirming the time) doesn't go through. At 2:15, I send her another message. Tea's on, snacks are out ... and my friend says she's coming in a half hour. What to do?! Shall I skip the hash again?
Waldemar is determined to leave by 3:10; we're picking up someone on the way to the hash.
|Down means ... going up soon|
She always brings a homemade local treat. Today it's yams in sugar and coconut water. Oh yum! But the meeting is short - too short. She calls over her gardener, who climbs a ladder to cut a jackfruit from our tree for her. (We are delighted to share the abundance.) The gardener takes the second fruit home.
We lock the gate behind us. The neighbor's dog warns off intruders at this point. We've been warned that the neighborhood thief is out of jail again. We pray over the house and yard because there have been break-ins and thefts from the time he was released. We're considering getting another dog or two for the big yard as the neighbor's dogs age. We need deterrents. Hmmm, I love poodles: a barking dog guards at night.
|Chalk arrows mark the intersections|
W finally tells him to stay put: there's no sense in heading out into the hills alone if he can't even find the gate into the hash. We don't want to lose him in the footpaths. "We'll be back in an hour."
We buy a few vegetables (3 kilos of bok choy, cucumbers, celery, lettuce and a fresh pineapple) for under $8
|We pray through the villages we pass|
We trek through the forests, villages, and fields for 5 miles. I check my heart rate, between 150-175 for 20 minutes. A good cardio workout! I feel like I'm not getting enough air to propel my legs any faster. We pass a few people and others pass us. Most of the runners are in front but we're not the last by any means.
On the final hill, I doubt I'm going to make it.
|W talks to the pineapple seller at the end of the hash|
"Tell me if I'm going too fast," he says.
I reply, "Oh don't worry, hon. I'm just lifting my feet, one after the other." I'm not exerting any more energy than that!
|Cooling ice in a tiny cup|
We get to the starting building and eat a refreshing ice. Ice chips are scooped into a little cup. The toppers are fermented black rice. Fermented cassava root. Freshly cut pineapple. Surprisingly delicious. And cooling.
"What's wrong with your face?" Hendy asks me. "It's so red." Except for a white moustache, the signal that I've been exerting myself.
|Happy that it's pretty clean|
|Playing cards while they wait for everyone to get back|
It's a hard-drinking crowd. When I'm called to the circle for some trumped-up offense (listening to the man from Hong Kong talk beside me), I dump my beer into the cups of the guys on either side of me. "Hey," one shouts. "Had I known I would have stood further away!" Haha. I hate beer. And I'm not drinking anything stronger than water.
|Cooking up a feast for friends|
We eat a Chinese feast of rice, noodles, fried crackers, chicken, and pork. (The Muslims avoid the pork.)
A little band strikes up a musical round. "What do you think of that?" someone leans over.
|Good food and loud conversation|
The person stays for the dancing when we leave. The party's heating up and it's time to pull out. We have walked, talked, met people, and prayed for some. All good!
W negotiates the narrow streets between motorcycles, carts, and cars. Back home, I watch a short movie with Kirsten, do an hour of Indonesian review, and then it's time for sleep.
*Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10 NIV
*Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6 NIV
*Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3 ESV
*Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV
God, give us hearts to worship you, wherever we find ourselves. May we be salt, light, and a voice of hope to those around us. Let us love as we have been loved, in gratitude and awe for what you have given us. Amen