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Bokoji: Town of Runners

Synopsis of Town of Runners, the documentary feature film which exposed Ethiopia's government moving child runners from their homes in Bokoji village and moving them away from their coach and families to accommodations without electricity, running water and non-functioning utilities

This synopsis is my take on this movie and not meant to raise money for Bokoji's budding athletes. But if you are willing to send these athletes money, please do

In 2009, British filmmakers arrived in Bokoji village, Ethiopia, and began filming a group of female and male endurance athletes focusing on athletes each thirteen to fourteen years old.

The filmmakers remained in Ethiopia until 2010, filming events described below.

Town of Runners made its debut in 2011. The film is currently available online but will cost you to buy or rent.

The film starts with a dedicated to his athletes local coach and teacher making sure village kids got in a daily training run before attending school.

The kids are happy to run together, no individual programs.

Engineers from China are here, hiring locals to rip grass out of the ground. The Chinese wish to build a tarmac to be used as a highway. There is no airport. It appears the kids begin using the muddy path as their track.

Families pay the coach to bus their kids to and from a track meet. At the meet, a girl named, Hawii, is not listed in the final results. Race officials say Hawii did not run. The coach has video evidence to prove otherwise. Race officials record Hawii's finishing place and time.

Then the local federation, being paid but being left unchecked by, Ethiopia's government, moves local athletes including Hawii and a boy named, Alemi, out of the homes each shares with their families and into group homes with other athletes from other villages.

Hawii's new home has no working utilities. Some guy tells Hawii and the other kids Hawii must live with that the utilities will eventually be turned on. I LOL knowing from experience this is a lie by a guy who can see the cameras rolling and has no qualms about lying..

Nightly, Hawii sleeps on a mattress and tells girls Hawii is living with "this is like living in a grave". Author's Note: For many of us, the achievement is digging ourselves out of a grave and getting to the starting line.

Hawii returns to Bokoji. Tells her old coach she has not run in four months due to kidney stones. Hawii was not provided medication and was drinking water. Food was not always being provided to the athletes. Hawii says many girls ran away from the new home.

In Bokoji, Hawii, had a coach who was there for her daily. Now, Hawii has a coach who shows up just three days per week.

Alemi, flunks in school and has to repeat a grade. Alemi's dreams to become a medical doctor are dead.

Hopefully, Ethiopia will end this dumb experiment and let kids grow up with their families and be coached by coaches dedicated to their athletes. Bureaucrats should never be allowed to decide where kids live, who coaches talented kids, or what conditions kids live under.

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ISBN: 978-0-9952788-1-3

Copyright © PJ Morris 2017