I never know what to expect on my daily runs here sometimes I am accompanied by friend or a random student along the way other times my run ends with me collecting firewood on my head or visiting a friend’s house for a “short” time. However, what I do know is that no matter what direction I run in or at what time my “admirer” will be outside looking for me.
Let me start from the beginning, way back at the end of September when we first got here my runs were always full of people- old and young stopping, staring, and shouting “mzungu, mzungu” at me. That still happens to a large extent, however, now most of the people have figured out my name or impaco (Rutooro nickname- Abwooli.) I usually would just smile, wave, and greet the person as I ran by. However, there was one man who works at a corn mill next to our compound that was extremely persistent in getting me to stop and talk to him. Everyday he would say- “you come here, just one minute. I want to talk to you.” For several days I would wave and keep on running by. One day though I decided to appease him and stopped at the end of my run to say hi. BIG mistake. He told me that he loves me and wants to be my girlfriend. I lied and told him I had a boyfriend back home. His reply was “take two.” I told him I could not do that, but he was not convinced. He continued to tell me loves me. Keep in mind he did knot know my name, and I did not know his. I eventually was able to spot someone I knew on the road, and make an escape back home.
Telling him no does not mean much to him, because now no matter what direction I run from home- left or right he manages to spot me on the road, and often will walk in the middle of the road where I am running. I avoid eye contact thinking he won’t say anything, but nope the man is persistent. On the way home from work we drive past where he works to drop off two clinic workers at their homes, and he spots me in the car and now blows kisses at me, and puts his hand over his heart.
This weekend I finally found out the man’s name. I was running in the opposite direction of his work place with a friend and the man was along side the road eating. He again stood in the middle of the road, tried to offer me some food and talk to me. My friend and I continued running past, whew, I thought I won’t see him again today. Wrong. A few minutes later he appeared next to me driving a boda (motorcycle) and continued to try and get my attention. I learned from my friend that his name was Cato. He works to the left of our compound, and lives to the right of the compound so that is why I see him so often. And the worst news of all…I learned he was a twin! Oh God.