Saturday afternoon – Abidjan Hash House Harriers

I took part of my second “Hash” (my first was with expats in Zurich).

A colleague of mine introduced me to Abidjan Hash. We headed the appointment spot in Bingerville, city above East Abidjan, close to a huge botanical gardens. We meet the group, 50 people, expats, UNICEF and UNO peacemaking collaborators (Force de maintien de la paix, UNOCI United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire), businessmen, sporty women and Ivoirians) in front of Nouvelle Normandia Farm, an Ivorian family business which grows cattle (healthy mid-fatty cows, nothing to do with their skinny African peers..) and products French stuff (Camembert, yogurt, quark).

Even if it suffers from heat and humidity, Guillaume’s dog was so happy to run outside in the bush. Dogs in Abidjan are very seldom (a belly on 4 paws to feed) and extended walks in the streets are very limited for security reasons. It was funny to observe that Ivoirians are completely afraid of dogs!

What happens during a Hash run is this. First, a designated “hare” sets the run by blazing a trail with bits of shredded paper (as in Abidjan HHH), toilet tissue, chalk marks, flour, lime, or whatever. The pack follows the trail, shouting “on on!” when spying a marker. Hares are encouraged to play nasty tricks by setting false trails, which suddenly send the pack in reverse. The object is to slow down the athletes by making them run further, and to encourage those with more battered physiques who suddenly find themselves in front. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare and finding the trail, harriers reaching the end of the trail would be rewarded with beers, softdrinks and cigarettes…

The Hash is about 10% athletic and 90% social… During the 2 hours, you can run or enjoy a briefly walk and chat…

Benefits:

  • To promote physical fitness among 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
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