"I run to cope with things," I told one of the volunteers today. I didn't realize how profound the statement was until it had left my lips and had already been said.
On a daily basis, the car drives up the drive after the project and within five minutes I've hit the road, running. It's a great way to unwind and reflect on everything and anything.
We had a long discussion about how being here was an escape. Maybe it's away from reality, or an issue at home. But at the end of the day everyone here is searching for or running from something.
One volunteer has had his heart broken, another wishes to find inspiration, and one is coping with the loss of her best friend. Another was crushed by not being hired for her dream job. I encountered a volunteer last year whose husband had slept with her neighbour. She had promptly destroyed that neighbour's garden, keyed her husband's car, and took off on a year-long trip volunteering around the world.
People's issues are overwhelmingly surrounding relationships.
But here, no one expects anything from you back home, one volunteer and I agreed. You're "in Africa", whatever that means, and you can disappear.
When I run here, all alone with the monkeys, bucks and hippos, I can disappear even from the place I have already disappeared to. It's an amazing feeling of complete solace and bliss.
Unfortunately right now my leg hurts and I think I have a shin splint.
I'm going to run anyways.