Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Hash

If I don’t return to America in a year, you can blame it on The Hash. The Hash is supposedly some world-renowned/known/recognized event that I only just learned about, but that everybody I mention it to seems to know. For the sake of having a blog to write though, I will pretend that you are as ignorant as I once was about The Hash. I will quote liberally from the Wikipedia article, because I think that it just so accurately capture some aspects of the Hash.

First: “Members often describe their group as ‘a drinking club with a running problem.’” This is fairly accurate. On Saturday afternoon a group of 4 of us wandered to the Rwandan Development Bank parking lot as instructed by Kigali Life and eagerly awaited the mysterious convoy that would bring us to the even more mysterious event. The convoy arrived, we piled into cars and were off down some dirt roads to a bar right outside Kigali. Most members of the ~40 person convoy were already drinking. Drinking was interrupted for a 6k “run.” The trail, which changes every week, is designed so that walkers can catch up with the runners. By this I mean…there are fake trails that go on for quite some time before learning it’s fake…so the runners are the ones to test all these fake trails and back track, giving the walkers an opportunity to catch up and just be told (usually by pointing children standing right at the fork) which trail is the true trail. The 6k trail brought us up a mountain, through fields, through yards, through actual houses (actually that was just a bathroom break, not sure anybody else did that), over log bridges, and down rural roads. It was a great way to see the beautiful countryside, and it was a fabulous opportunity to run on dirt roads, wearing shorts, surrounded by partners in a similar crime.

When we got back to the bar, crates of beer and water were already out and being aggressively consumed. (I guess it’s actually a race up at front.)

The atmosphere quickly devolved into what can only be described as Meetings (sorority/fraternity/rugby) with 40-60 year old ex-pats whose respectable employers would not approve of their shameful behavior. (I should add here that one unforeseen benefit of participating in The Hash was the networking opportunities and the opportunity to be in awe of/admire/want to emulate some of the incredibly dedicated members of the ex-pat community. I got to speak with somebody who is working on HC filing for the Ministry of Health and to many other who have dedicated their lives to service and adventure. It was a great group of people that I cannot wait to see again.)

Sigma Delts reading this, you would be proud. Wikipedia quote: “Hashers who wear new shoes to an event can be required to drink from their shoe. In some chapters the beer is further filtered through the persons [sic] sock.”

Once everybody returned to the bar, we circled up and partook in the meetings ritual. Various members of the group were called out for dishonorable acts recently committed (sex on the run??)…they were then forced to the center of the circle, we sang a drinking song, and they chugged their drink. But of course, only “hash names” could be used. The names ranged from the respectable (Hostess) to the uncomfortable (Booby Trap – “you can guess why” or Tsunami – “you’ll learn why”) to the oh-my-goodness-I-simply-cannot-write-some-of-them-on-this-blog.

I fit right in and felt right at home. Especially when they started singing “Why was she born so beautiful? Why was she born at all?” And I of course start screaming, along with the UK rugby player next to me “She’s no f*cking use to anyone! She’s no f*cking use at all! Sooooo drink bleep bleeper! Drink bleep bleeper! Drink bleep bleeper! Drink!” Awkward pause. The rest of the group did not sing /know the second part of that song. Whoops. But not really because it actually just made everybody like us more.

And The Hash did not end there, we exchanged phone numbers and met up with everybody later on at a dance club. Definitely, I am excited for my new group of friends. After running in 10 hashes, you are officially hazed, named, and initiated. (I already offered up my newb name and my pledge name to them.) Unfortunately, it’s all the way in Kigali…but it’s also every weekend, so I think I’ll get 10 runs in throughout the year. Next one: Oktoberfest weekend when we all go stay in a hotel together and do multiple hashes over the course of the weekend.

Final Wikipedia quote:

“The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is recorded on a club registration card dated 1950:
• To promote physical fitness among our members
• To get rid of weekend hangovers
• To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
• To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel”

!!!!!!!I love my new friends!!!!!!!

1 comment:

Lesley said...

SHOE BEER! (then run on it. EW your feet must have been REAL ripe by the end of this adventure.)
Happy Birthday, beeteedubs.