Of a forecast 50+ Kampala Hashers, about half that number slowly dripped into Addis Ababa for Africa Hash 2011, mpole mpole all the way – one of them arrived on Sunday morning. Seriously guys, that’s a lot of beer drinking time you wasted.
Hashing, ‘a drinking club with a running problem’ is open to everyone, everywhere. Africa Hash takes place every two years and lasts three days.
The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers states:
- To promote physical fitness among our 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
“Out of all the bars in all the world, he had to walk into mine.” I’d only been in Ethiopia an hour and who sat next to me? The Hasher I’d done my best to get away from at Africa Hash 2009. But with 300 other Hashers to drink, dance (and possibly even run with!) it hardly mattered.
Friday is a hashing day! The Entoto run – 3,211m
Time to register and to dive into the goodie bag: I loved the Ethiopian flavour, especially the tej (honey wine) glass and the coffee condoms (they keep you up all night, apparently).
Stuffed full of spicy Fir Fir (and ready to catch up on some sleep), I climbed aboard a coach for Entoto. “Ten people need to get off or we won’t get up the hill!” Bozo yelled. We yelled back. Nobody moved; we were too busy singing along to Sucker’s Hash songs as the coach slowly crawled up the hill past the two donkeys f**king by the side of the road.
After Bozo’s proclamation that “Kampala Hash is shit,” I was keen to see exactly what makes Addis ‘so bloody brilliant.’ But, I’ll give it them: Addis Hashes are better marked than Kampala ones. There’s a colour scheme for the different shredded paper marking the trails (until it rains!) and you really led us a merry dance with your check backs, you w**kers.
Kampala is 1000m above sea level but I still found Addis tough going. We walked – and panted – our way uphill for two and a half hours, through the smell of Eucalyptus, pine, sage and thyme. I chose the harder walk first: I knew by the next day I’d be f**ked.
It was a blustery circle back at the top of Entoto and we just hung around long enough to empty the keg of St. George.
Back at Tropical Gardens that evening, the boys from the slum shook their shoulders for us in a terrific dance routine. Sidney Salmon and his reggae band got the crowd feeling Irie. “One love,. …. let’s get together … and drink all night.” Learning more about Rastafarianism was just one highlight of being in Ethiopia.
At this point I have to say that Mismanagement did not live up to their name: the entertainment programme ran so smoothly; it was hard to imagine it was really a Hash event.
Several St. Georges later and the Hashettes Toad Under and Lobster and I turned our attention to the model Ethiopian Airlines plane, strategically misplaced right next to 300 drunken Hashers cavorting on the dance floor. “That thing’s not going to last the week-end!” Toad Under said, as we suggestively draped ourselves over it and set to scheming how the three of us were going to ride it (all puns intended).
My first Blue Donkey (taxi) experience later that night was scary; convinced we were trying to rip him off, the driver pulled over and screamed abuse at us at the top of his voice for five minutes. No-one moved (not that you can in a Lada anyway). Another U turn and another screaming fit later, I was relieved when it was my turn to jump out.
Note: Lobster had asked another Hasher to see I got home ok. He didn’t, he made his own arrangements. I suppose I should forgive him; he’d been locked out of his room the night before while one of the local ladies tested out the contents of the goodie bag with an Antipodean Hasher she’d picked up at the airport. Yes – I do have names!!
Saturday is a hashing day! Suluta Valley run– 2750m
Back on the coach up the hill past the two donkeys (still) fucking by the side of the road.
I made no pretence at running – nor did many others! But enjoyed the scenery and walking with Drainoil, a fascinating man from Kuala Lumpur Hash and a walking piece of Hash history. What he doesn’t know, isn’t worth knowing. Hashing started in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur.
I lagged behind but was delighted when I turned a corner to see a Hasher languishing on a rock, St George in hand. This was undoubtedly the best circle of the week-end … DESPITE THE BEER RUNNING OUT! Ben Ghazi entertained us with the bagpipes (I left Europe to avoid that sound), Queenie dragged (not so innocent) Hashettes into the circle, Sucker was merciless with a cane and the locals looked on, mouths open, as Hashettes mounted Hashers on the open grass.
Back in town, the highlight of Saturday night was the Tam Tam (African music) Club in town. “I’m digging your Ugandan moves” Strap On said. (Two years as a volunteer in Uganda have not been wasted then!)
“I’m staying at the Hilton,” some Hasher chancer told me, “but it’s a bit lonely on my own” he hinted.” I glanced down at his wedding ring. “You should have brought your wife then,” I thought, as I sought refuge on the dance floor to wiggle my kabina some more.
Sunday is a hashing day!
The Red Dress Run was a hoot: there weren’t many Red Dresses (we were uncommonly well behaved after that nice Slave Trader’s warning not to offend the locals) and there was no Running but it was certainly er … Red.
The tree planting was a nice surprise. As a conservationist, I can bore you silly about how much I love trees. The Red Dress Run was in aid of Cheshire Services – a charity that works with Ethiopian children and young people with disabilities.
Back at the Tropical Gardens for our last get-together, a treat was laid on for us: grown men and women vomiting beer everywhere. Nice. Apparently it’s the gas that makes you heave, not the three days and nights of continuous drinking.
Sunday night, I crashed and burned. I hear Nairobi Hashers were giving it large back at the Phoenix Pub. I had another 2 weeks to go; I was pacing myself.
A recap of Africa Hash 2011
Thank you! Amaseganalu
Thanks to the Africa Hash main sponsor St. George beer. Africa Hash served as the launch event for their mobile draught beer bar – I can safely say we gave it the baptism it deserves.
Hashing has given me the opportunity to travel abroad with my Ugandan friends, reconnect with English friends I met at Africa Hash 2009 in Kampala, and make Ethiopian, Kenyan and Tanzanian friends. Mombasa May 2012 is now firmly in the diary (I can’t wait to party with Nairobi Hashers again) and Africa Hash 2013 in Ghana pencilled in.
Special thanks to Addis Hash for inviting us to your fabulous country. I’ve wanted to visit for years but you provided the opportunity, gave us a fantastic welcome, an awesome party and continued to enchant me even after the official festivities were over. I WILL BE BACK!
The meaning of the Jamaican/rasta”IRIE” – my favourite is “I Respect I Eternally” – you have respect for yourself; being happy with who you are.