Iten is a unique place…and has a way of drawing you into the running culture. There’s definitely a feeling if you are sleeping past 6:30am and not getting up to run that you are somehow lazy. The energy and vibe of the place gets you up and makes you move. The culture can be very friendly but at the same time a little overwhelming in it’s joy at welcoming visitors from other countries. Our high school participants expressed some thoughts as to how their impression of Iten has changed from when they first arrived until now:
Dominga – Honestly I didn’t know what to expect but being here and exposed to the culture thru Strive I felt was so different than anything I have experienced before when traveling to other countries.
Emma Grace – From the beginning I found people are very welcoming genuinely interested in getting to know you.

Yoav – At first it seemed like a [tiny] village but after experiencing it more I find it’s a huge place of gathering and seems much more like a huge city now, despite it’s small size

Cal – At first it didn’t seem like world class runners would be from here, but then of course over time I met many famous people.

McGregor- Initially I was worried about… being “in Africa” from people at home, but now realize that was not accurate. I didn’t expect tiny little shops and great hospitality, with great people who are super nice and friendly. I was at first reserved but now I’m pretty accepting of everyone’s friendliness.

London – At first, I didn’t think it was very civilized… now I see it as a large community of people that is welcoming and supportive of foreigners and each other.

Baltazar – At first things seemed a little backward but then realized the buildings and behavior and culture is more developed than I originally thought.  People are so welcoming and nice, they like meeting foreigners.

Drew – I pretty much expected it to be a lot like this from what I read; I knew people were going to be very friendly …but was surprised a bit by its rocky terrain on some of the roads. Other than that I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like before I arrived.

Sara – At first I found it kind of [different] compared to Taipei, but over time I realized almost every one is very nice. Meeting people changed how I felt overall, as I realized they’re very accepting.

Everyone  agreed with the sentiment that everyone’s so happy with where they are in life…the fact that everyone is so happy despite the seemingly little that they have compared to people from more our home countries.