wanaogopa mvua

Earlier this week I enjoyed my favorite morning run in Africa ever.

The first and last 1 1/2 miles of nearly every one of my runs is spent getting out of town — yeah, it’s a small town.  But from that point on, I can run on trails through our national forest and see only a handful of people, carrying firewood on their bicycles.  [Yes, they cut down trees in the national forest for firewood.  And, yes, that’s illegal but done every day, all the same.]  So any run over 3 miles rewards me with both a relaxing run and a great quiet time for praying.

But on this particular day of running, it began to rain.  Just a sprinkle at first… but it steadily grew into a strong and cold rain.  And I loved it.  For two reasons:

  1. This was the coolest run I’ve experienced in Africa to date.  [And a welcome change from running in Dar es Salaam– where I regularly left a trail of sweat and melted shoe rubber in my wake.]
  2. The roads and trails were empty.  Completely.  Even in that first and last mile and a half.  You see, Tanzanians don’t much care for the rain.  When storm clouds move in, people scramble for shelter.  And the people of Geita are no different.

I recently learned a new adage of sorts:

Watanzania hawaogopi magari; hawaogopi UKIMWI.
Wanaagopa mvua.

Translated, it means:

Tanzanians aren’t afraid of cars; they aren’t afraid of AIDS.
They are afraid of rain.

Fear is funny like that, isn’t it?  It’s not always so logical.

Me, I’m afraid of baby dolls and monkeys.  BUT, I was attacked by the latter — so I have every right.  [Though my wife did sort of feed the same monkeys (or some nearby ones) the next year, giving her (she believes) every right to tell others about how “horribly dangerous” these monkeys were that calmly ate bananas out of her hand, while they smiled and said “thank you” in three languages.  I’m only telling you this because, although my wife NEVER posts on my blog, she surely would have in this one instance.  So I’m cutting her off at the turn.  Husbands, you’ve got to do that with your wives…]

The baby dolls — well, I’ll admit… that fear is completely irrational.  [If you don’t count the whole Chucky series, that is.  Or the creepy old woman baby doll in the restroom at Miller’s Grocery in Christiana, Tennessee.]

Of what are you afraid and shouldn’t be?  Or of what are you not afraid, yet should be?

OR what was your favorite run this year?

* I can’t believe I made it through this entire post without mentioning Toto’s “Africa” — now that’ll be stuck in my head the rest of the day.


Filed under just thinking, living in africa

21 responses to “wanaogopa mvua

  1. Kim

    Ok first off… can I get a phonetic pronunciation of the post title?

    Secondly, I am really happy that you – well found your happy place. I myself am not a fan of running – even the Army couldn’t convince me otherwise. But I can see what a treat it would be to have the place to yourself.

    I really hate bees. I swell up like the Pilsbury Dough Boy.

    • 1. rhymes with, “sauna o copa mmooa’.” i obviously have not idea how to type phonetically — i want to be able to put long and short marks over the vowels… (think of that last word as describing a cow as a mooer, but without saying the ‘r’, kind of like our friends from the north?

      i’m also allergic to bees.

  2. I’m more afraid of fear than of anything else. I’m also terrified of being disliked.

    • oh, you seem to have the same sickness as the rest of us… not to play down your fear of being disliked. more to admit that i also have that fear — probably most of us do (those of us who are honest, anyway?).

  3. I love Toto’s “Africa.” It was on my ipod for a very long time.

    I’m afraid of flying in air planes (which is ridiculous considering how long I’ve been on one and how many times I’ve flown). And I can’t watch scary movies because then I won’t be able to sleep with the light off. And when I am home alone for the night, I check all the closets and showers because I figure if there is a monster in my house, I want to go ahead and get it over with. Although, Chance goes with me for protection.

    • JMF

      Funny, Jane. I too hate flying.

      Regarding your checking rooms, etc…I heard a security expert say one time that humans are the only creatures on Earth that get the “spine tingling/6th sense” feeling…and then go and slowly check it out. Any other animal trusts it’s instincts and runs when it gets the heebie jeebies.

    • christie is really afraid of flying on airplanes. which, like with you, doesn’t make much sense. i mean she’s a missionary in africa. who wants to see her family again one day.

      and, just so you know, janie, monsters never hide in the obvious places like closets, showers, and under beds. at least not until after you’ve checked there once.

      and ghosts, well, they don’t much need hiding places, do they?

  4. I am terribly afraid of speaking in front of a crowd or performing music in front of an audience.
    I had to do it during childhood and adolescence and even though I liked it I would be so nerveous and afraid I thought I would die.

    My favourite run was years ago when I hit the 10 miles. 🙂

  5. JMF

    Personally, I have a healthy fear of Chuck Norris (what mortal doesn’t?), and I often fear that my good looks are very intimidating for most people.

    Besides that, I fear (or, at least, am bothered by): Clowns, dolls (that is normal), confined spaces (I would have preferred to die as to ride up in that capsule from that Chilean mine — seriously), and heights.

    My more reasonable fears are: Loss of dignity (dying in front of other people, being injured, etc), needing to rely on others (paralysis, health issues, etc.), hmm…I can think of others, but I’ll assume you aren’t wanting this to go too goth.

    • i’ve many times, fife, thought about how happy i am that this whole blog and commenting stuff isn’t on video — or you’d be causing too many of our female readers to lust. that is a fear i’ve long had.

  6. Milynda

    There is a whole lot of me that is not running anywhere except for far and away from danger. In that case, I can run in three inch heels for miles on end.

    However, my biggest fear was ants, balloons (irrational) and being lost. Now, it is that rat in your previous post.

  7. Eagle

    For me my fear is of failure. Losing my job and knowing one day I will lose my parents. The first anniversary of the death of my grandmother is coming up on October 30. Its been weird…to have someone involved in my life for 36 years suddenly gone. It’s been a new normal…and I hate it.

  8. Daniel

    snakes; just like Indiana Jones, I hate snakes. As a kid, I had this recurring dream about different species of those slithering satanic serpents taking over my house. they never actually did, though.

    • so awesome that you added the “like indiana jones” line. that makes it sound slightly more manly. carson and i were playing golf this morning, and there was a black mamba in a tree on the 6th hole. we made sure to hit away from that tree.

      • I am with Daniel–I hate snakes. Just thinking about one makes my flesh crawl. I can relate with that Genesis passage about enmity between the serpent’s seed and Eve’s seed. I am sure it goes all the way back to the Garden for me!

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