What is the holiday period like in Kenya?
Do you recall seeing memes on Facebook about dreaded family 5km runs on Christmas morning? Imagine that, but an entire village, no dread, and the run being 15-20km. And that’s the morning run here in Iten. With running being such a major part of the culture here it’s really not that surprising that Christmas day was no exception. Throughout the Christmas festivities here I still managed a 17.5km run, a core session with activation and stretching and of course, the afternoon nap. We even got to bed at 9pm!
On the surface, Christmas in Kenya vs Christmas in New Zealand couldn’t be any more different, but if you look closely the fundamentals are the same. It’s all about getting together with friends and family to spend quality time together. The day was spent minus the commercialization that we often see in the western world with the focus of the day being entirely around friends and family and, of course, running! Christmas in Kenya is one of the more unique Christmas’ I have had. It was the first time I have spent the day away from my family back in Taranaki which was always going to be tough. But I’m thankful for getting to spend the day over here in Iten with some of the Kiwi’s that are based here, as well as some of the locals I have met since arriving. The day was a lot more relaxing than I am used to as we didn’t spend the day running around town trying to spend time with everyone but we just went with the flow and spent some quality time with the friends that we had made here. Not a bad way to spend Christmas!
I was completely unsure on how New Years was going to be spent while I was here. In New Zealand, New Years is often spent at the beach and celebrating with as many people as you can to bring in the New Year. Here in Iten, it seemed like any other day with training resuming the next day. I laugh when I compare my experience of going to bed at 10.30pm on New Year’s Eve to what I would do in New Zealand.
While I was unaware of it at the time, many Kenyans go to Church on New Year’s Eve until about 11pm and then go out and celebrate until the early hours. We had a good laugh on our run the next morning seeing the locals stumbling home from the pub the night before.
I hope everyone back home had a great Christmas and New Year’s!!