18 Jan

Now I Know (1)

first_imgANITA sat at the corner of Benson and Carey Street with her face reduced to a caricature of shame and disappointment. It had been four months now since she had been coming to sit at the corner, pleading with pedestrians for little crumbs to move on.  But if anyone who cared to know why she was coming to sit at the corner the last several months, it would have been clear that she was not an ordinary beggar. Her distinctive features would show that she was a former beauty who had hit rock-bottom and now counting her days. Though her clothes were tattered about her, there were some elements that the careful observer could have discerned to indicate she was one once upon the time well-bred with a promising future. Now her hair had lost its lively texture, and evidently months of incessant tears about her condition had reduced her to a shameless picture of disappointment. Anita was aware of the tragic life or what life had reduced her once wonderful life to, but did she care that she was that character whose life story had been the talk of the community? Her life had been on the radio airwaves and many mothers had used her condition to teach their teenage daughters about how unpredictable life could be for a woman.  As the midday traffic gathered pace, she turned to look at the clutches beside her, and the idea that she was now walking by their support was not that encouraging but she had no choice. It was not a life she had dreamed about. But she knew that she would not get around easily without them. Several years ago, that was when she was the darling of many of the men in Monrovia; she was, as many people would say, the eye and dream of any eligible bachelor. But at age twenty six, when she considered that the tragic motor accident had caused her right leg to be amputated and a result compelling her many lovers to abandon her; when she now had to beg for food, she could only blame herself.     Anita was in such personal reverie, when an echo of familiar footsteps pounded towards her. She lifted her head and in a teary outburst of distress stared at the only friend that kept coming to console, Yassa Johnson.  With a painful smile on her face, Yassa, with a bag under her armpit, ambled towards her friend, ignoring the increasing number of women and some men who were congregating to witness her friend’s shame.  “What are they doing here?” was the first question that came from Yassa, sweeping her head towards the crowd.  Anita responded with a smile, saying inaudibly said, “They have been coming when they knew that I have been coming here.” True, many of the people might have heard about her and knew that she was the young lady whose life had hit rock bottom and was wasting away. “Cheer up, sister,” Yassa said, in the most difficult voice, and turning to the crowd, pleaded, “It’s enough for her please go away from here.” The women in the crowd gave up a shocking reaction, and one said, “Men are dangerous and women must be careful.”  Yassa only smiled and shook her head.Anita saw the pain in her friend’s tear-filled face, and throwing her head towards the crowd, said faintly, “I wish I had listened to you, Yassa.” That emotional response was heart rendering, for Yassa might have considered her friend’s state of health, and wasting away at the time she was supposed to have her life ahead of her.Considering the embarrassing situation, Yassa moved to help Anita get onto her clutches and to move her away from the sorry scene. As the two hobbled away from the crowd, Anita began to cry. If Yassa had paid more attention to the facial expressions of the bystanders, mostly at the women, she would have found sympathy and support there. For it could be true that human nature being effectual, there was a high possibility that those who had congregated to watch the agony of a young woman who had been involved with men and was reported to be begging for money, had an intriguing lesson for all.  “Please stop these tears,” Yassa said, in a voice that indicated her own sense of pain. “They are tearing my heart apart.” Having been friends from childhood, and having grown up together, Yassa could not dismiss her friend’s agony, for she was plainly aware of how her friend allowed the love for what money could buy and men’s admiration to ruin her life. Though not as beautiful as Anita, she always found it difficult to warn her friend about the number of lovers that came across her at the time. It was not even true that because men admired her, Anita just went for what all they presented to her. Anita was a strong-willed kind of woman. Being the image of her late mother, she drew many a man’s attention which apparently caused numerous temptations that might have caused her present predicament. Though police investigators reported her tragic accident as mechanical error, almost all of her lovers had abandoned her, which indicated to many that someone might have plotted the accident that caused one of her legs to be amputated, even more so when Anita was the only woman to have suffered severely, despite the presence of three others. It was meant to shame her, and destroy her.  Presently, Anita responded to her friend’s remark with a bitter smile, saying, “Imagine how you are feeling about me and I’m going through all these months after the accident.” “But,” Yassa said, “You must cheer up.” “Can I?” Anita said, leaving the question in the air. “I never thought it would end like this.” Yassa could not reply, and stared at her friend in the face.  Away from the prying eyes of bystanders, Anita told her friend, “Now I know what you always told me,” in which her friend gave a deep sigh. Helping her adjust her sitting position, just across from a Scratch Card Booth, Yassa’s eyes filled with tears, and she turned away to wipe them. “Don’t let my suffering go in vain,” Anita told her friend, “where are those men who used to harass me, day and night?”  Yassa could not answer the question, but turned her face away from her friend. “Now I know,” Anita repeated, as the echoes of running vehicles moved unconcerned across Benson and Lynch Street.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

27 Dec

TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE DONEGAL MARATHON!

first_imgOrganisers are hoping the Donegal marathon will get big numbers.We’re almost there with less than two weeks left to the hugely-awaited Donegal Marathon in Letterkenny on August 24th.But what exactly is the route, where are the hills and where runners can get a drink of water.The good people organising the marathon have completed the route (not sure if by foot or car!) and have written a virtual tour for participants and spectators. The Donegal MarathonRunners will assemble at the Aura Leisure Centre and after registration is completed, we will make our way to the Starting Line.The full marathon will comprise of three loops within the course. There is a core loop that will be run once by the half marathon competitors and twice by the full marathon competitors; a loop in and around Letterkenny town that will be run once by all competitors; and a loop that will be run once by the full marathon competitors out around the Foxhall area to the west of Letterkenny.All will be explained on this virtual tour!Spectators positioned along this course can witness the participants; your family, friends and neighbours; pitting themselves against the limits of their own endurance for up to four hours or more, from one or more locations along this course. Your support on the day could provide just the encouragement needed for the competitors to realise their dream. So let’s get behind the runners and decorate the course in a sea of Donegal colours to provide a wall of encouragement and celebration.We’re at the start line, it’s almost 10.15am, we’re under starter’s orders, facing Letterkenny… and we’re off! From here, we make our way into town to the small roundabout at the bottom of Lower Main Street, turn right over to the small roundabout at Oldtown Bridge but turn left along Pearse Road. We make our way to the junction at the bottom of Rosemount, where we turn right over towards the new Dunne’s Stores’ Roundabout. We follow the Neil T Blaney Road around to the Polestar Roundabout where we circumvent the roundabout to make our way out the Ramelton Road with Mount Errigal Hotel on our left, and through Ballyraine. We continue on this road to the small roundabout at Key’s Garage, close to Arena 7, and turn left up past the Donegal Creameries Co-op, following the road around to take us past the Church of the Irish Martyrs on the left past Gortlee Tool Hire on the right and down Gortlee Hill. At the junction, we turn right and head for the small roundabout at the old Oatfield Sweet Factory site. We continue on in the direction of the Station Roundabout with Letterkenny Shopping Centre in to our left. At the roundabout, we head towards Main Street, up past An Grianan Theatre on our right, to the traffic light junction at Letterkenny Courthouse. We continue onto Main Street and follow this road through Lower Main Street back down to Grier’s roundabout.At this point, we turn left and retrace our steps towards the Oldtown Bridge and this time at the small roundabout, we cross the bridge. At the Ros Suillighe Roundabout on the other side we turn right to take us out Crieve Road, past Crievesmith Park on our left. We are now heading out into the open country. We will follow this road for three miles, passing Rockhill House on our left, until we come to Newmills Flax Mill. Here, we continue on this side of the river through Newmills with the bridge off to our right. We make our way towards Billy’s Junction at Rashedoge.Here we turn right onto the R250, and then we turn right heading back towards Letterkenny. We will follow this road passing Conwal Graveyard and then Ballymacool Park on our left, and O’Donnell Park on our right. At the Ballymacool Roundabout we continue on towards the Aura Leisure Centre, where we will either turn right and in onto the track to complete the Half Marathon; or to complete the Full Marathon, we will continue on the main road until we come to Grier’s roundabout. At Grier’s roundabout we once again turn right and over towards Oldtown to cross the bridge and once again proceed out the Rockhill road towards Newmills. At Rashedoge, we will then turn left to run the third loop which is reserved for the full marathoners. We proceed out the R250 in the Meenaroy/ Fintown direction, past the school on the right, to turn right at “Barracks”. Continue along this narrow road, past the graveyard on the right, and on to the junction at the top of Foxhall. Here we turn left and run for 200m to a’turnaround point’ before heading back down Foxhall towards the Churchill/ Fintown junction. Here we follow the R250 back towards Letterkenny to turn right into the Aura Leisure Centre and onto the Athletics track to complete our full marathon to the cheers and congratulations of our adoring supporters (well maybe not adoring, but you get the picture!!) The bad news is that only one of you will get to break the tape in each event, but together every one of you will have created history for Donegal in establishing the Donegal Marathon in the 21st Century, and will have achieved what most ‘couch potatoes’ would consider a feat of utter madness! So well done, one and all!Whether you complete the half or full marathon, you will have earned the respect and congratulations of your fellow competitors, family, friends, neighbours, and acquaintances. You can then make your way into the centre to collect your medal, Finisher’s Pack, and avail of the free massage therapy that will be on offer. Meanwhile your family and friends will be entertained at the family fun day. Here, there will be face-painting, photo booth, outdoor music and more bouncy castles than you can shake a stick at. To the friends and family we ask you to line this route, compromising of the three loops outlined, to give your support to the runners. To the residents living along this course, we wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused, but wish to emphasise the great community endeavour that goes into such an event, and ask that you support the runners in any way you can, particularly by displaying the Donegal colours from every possible vantage point. You can even leave them there for certain upcoming matches that will take place a week later! Donegal… has it all!For more details and registration check out: www.donegalmarathon.ie where you can access a copy of the map of the course in various formats.TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE DONEGAL MARATHON! was last modified: August 13th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DONEGAL MARATHONvirtual tourlast_img read more