May 26, 2013

I Told You So

 Marie el Amm (2nd),  Sonia Hanna (1st) and Aregu Sisay Abate (3rd)
Didn’t I tell you so, way back in November that this lady kicked ass!? Well, she did!! Today, our housekeeper, Aragu Sisay Abate, won 3rd place on the Women’s 10K Challenge Run here in Beirut.

She’s only been training for some 5 months with the Inter-Lebanon Road Running & Athletics Club, but they obviously take it seriously. Her running buddies, Sonia Hanna and Marie el Amm, won 1st and 2nd place and Aregu Abate passed the finish line at 45:15 min, good for a 3rd place.
She’s worked hard at it, leaving the house most mornings at 6:30 to go to her training. Some days just 5 kilometers, but on other days 20 kilometers. And then when she comes home, there’s still her regular day job in our house. And as any housewife will know; that is a never-ending job. We’ve got teenagers in the house, a cat and a dog, and the laundry keeps piling up, and there’s always dishes in the sink and when you’ve just cleaned the floor, someone walks in with muddy shoes. But she does it. And she does it with a smile. 

Most of these guys were on their second shift, first helping out at the rocket blast in Chiyeh

The women of the Internal Security Forces also ran

And so she made it to the podium of the 10K. Her trainer said she would, but she didn’t quite believe it. She was shy about her outfit. She didn’t want to wear the short top, opted for the long one instead, and thought her shorts looked as if she was walking in a ‘kulotte’ (underwear). But heck, her team mates all said she could do it, and so she did. 

With her trainer of the Inter-Lebanon Road Running & Athletics Club, Roger Bejjani
I wonder what it all means to her.  She comes out of a very small farming community on the highlands of Ethopia, in the Wollo district. They grow wheat and millet. Never had been out of her district, let alone her country. She was good in sports at school. Her brother, on the other hand, did not like sports at all; she’s the only runner in the house. When she came to Lebanon, it was her first air plane flight. She did not know how to fasten the seat belt in a car. Had never seen a microwave, and although she never let on, the elevator was something scary. She still won’t take an escalator.
And here she is, some 18 months later, and she’s been in the paper twice. She’s running with a group of hard-core athletes that encourage her, and push her to go further. Today, she made it to the podium, she’s been interviewed in front of TV cameras, she was ‘crowned’ by the wife of the president of Lebanon, got a running outfit from Aisti, a ladies watch and prize money, ended up on a stage in front of hundreds of people and photo journalists,  and had many people ask her if they could take a picture with her. I doubt if she ever had this much attention. I am proud I’ve got such a kick-ass housekeeper. I secretly bask in her glory.
Heck, if it weren’t for her, I would never have sat next to the President’s wife. 

Secretly I hope she’ll stay with us, but I know she won’t. When her contract is up, she intends to go back home and get married. Maybe we can get her to reconsider, and choose running as a career. According to the Beirut International Marathon, that organized the event, this 10 K Challenge run was a ‘special day for women to fight for their rights, share their stories and run for their health.’ I couldn’t agree more. 
A happy woman


Anonymous said...

So happy for her!
After reading your previous blog entry we watched the first few runners along the corniche from our balcony and she was right there in the front group, down the road and back. We were keeping our fingers crossed for the rest of the way and she did it! So pleased to hear this! Well done, Aregu:)

visnja said...

Way to go Aragu!!! Bravo!!! Another bravo for you Sietske for being so supportive!!!

Anonymous said...

Mabrook :)

Gray Fox said...

Congratulations to you Sietske!! Be proud of the wonderful role you chose to play in another person's life!

Anonymous said...

Such an inspiration! I hope she keeps on running!

Amy said...

Friends and I were talking about your blog and your housekeeper as we lined up yesterday for the 5K fun run. Delighted to get your blog post this morning and see how well she did! Amazing!

Marillionlb said...

Congratulations to Argu, and hat off to you Sietske !!!!!!

Sareen said...

This post made me tear up a little. Please congratulate her and tell her we're all proud!

Sietske said...

Thank you all! It was quite a day. She's still talking about all the people along the road that were cheering her on.

Geanina Alina Danila said...

Congrats Aregu! Sietske bravo for being supportive!