Hashing in Trinidad

I don’t want any of you to be alarmed, but Junie and I have taken up a new habit.

I mean, the week started simply enough, with our newest favorite fruit, soursop, eaten most every day, along with some of our old faves.

And the discovery of shaddock fruit.  (also called pomelo)

The skies fluctuated between optimistic

and dramatically threatening,

as signs of halloween lurked around here

and there.

The school volleyball team continues to evolve,
as does progress on the Plastic Oceans Mural Project,

which is turning into more and more of a manifestation of our goal;  illustrating the United Nations theme of 2013, the Year of Water Cooperation.  We have been grappling with how to reduce our use of plastic as we digest the omnipresence as well as the omnipotency of the stuff. (If you haven’t already, I invite you to check out plasticoceans.net) We have students from kindergarten through to 12th grade working on the mural together, in the spirit of cooperation and shared responsibility.

Speaking of cooperation, I was walking home from a two day workshop on the PYP and the IB curriculum, which was so much about collaboration.  I was lost in my thoughts about how to incorporate these collaborative ideas into my teaching when I almost bumped into two Trini teenagers who were wandering down the street on a friday afternoon.

They seemed friendly enough, so we invited them to come hashing with us.

.

We got one of them to agree to join us as we endulged in our new habit.  While Nicole and her friends stayed home with the sitter doing art projects

and their share of swimming,

Junie and I took our sixteen year old hashing.   This is not as bad as it sounds.

.

Hashing is a tradition that apparently has been going on since 1938.  It began in Malaysia with a group of British Colonialists and expatriates who met on a weekly basis to run in a style modeled after the British Paper Chase game.  It is impossible to explain, but from what I got out of it, it is a group of people getting together to exercise and have a lot of fun while they are at it.

The “hares” run ahead and forge through the jungle, clearing a path which they mark with a trail of shredded paper.  There are some paths which are true, and some which they set up with paper to trick you into thinking you are on the right track, but when you see the “x,” you must turn around and try again with a new path.  Not so different than real life, except that the warning signs are much more obvious in this game.

.

People communicate and take turns checking out the validity of the paths, in a spirit of collaboration which would have made our workshop trainers proud.  This particular route was an amazing combination of terrain, including pavement, jungle, rivers, and farmland.  Most all of it was either up or down a very steep hill of one sort or another.  My only regret was not bringing my camera along on the route.  We were serenaded with smells of shadow benney and oregano growing in the fields, as well as live calypso music, laughter, and the echoing sounds of the runners “on-on:” the reassuring passcode which tells you that you are on the right path.

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At the end of the run, there is all sorts of hilarity and silliness, as newbies to the hash tradition introduce themselves

with a microphone which is quite magnified and significantly drowned out by the amazingly enthusiastic cheers from the crowd. This made us all feel pretty much like a million bucks just like that.

It is difficult to describe the exhilaration the combination of intense exercise combined with equally intense silliness  left in our very cells.

We all just thanked our lucky stars that we weren’t wearing new shoes.  Those participants who were, got reported.  These citations were read aloud, and the guilty parties had to come forward and drink out of the very same brand new shoes.

as for me, I stuck with Gatorade, in an old fashioned

plastic bottle.

4 thoughts on “Hashing in Trinidad

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