AMIR TELIBECIREVIC LUNJO: TAKE HASH, DRINK BEER
"A beer drinking club with a running problem"- that would be one of many expressions to define the status of the international club, almost movement, called "Hash Harriers", according to members of club. Upcomming: who are they, what are they, what do they want, what do they drink beside beers, plus the fact they appeared in Sarajevo few years ago. The citizens of Sarajevo, at some point got used to have a post-war "invasion" of various religious sects, cults, refugees, chinese black market dealers, organizations and individual looneys. Many people would think the same about Hash club, like it`s just another team of religious or political independent idles who are converting people and "saving the world". Even the author of this column thought similar before he took a walk with them. After that, all prejudices about them were rejected, they have nothing neither with religion nor politics, they are mostly related to good fun and joking around. In order to break any theory about some new hashishars because their name Hash makes every non informed person to think of Hashish, it should be always mentioned - they have nothing with drugs. Hash is an old british sleng for the cheap food and drinks on the table. Hash House Harriers, as a club, is founded back in thirties of 20th century in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Some british guys who were working there founded it. They did it mostly for leisure by running around, and they wanted to motivate as much people as it`s possible to join them and run together. To avoid misunderstanding, it is not some athletic sport club. They don`t run for health but for fun and leisure. Further party comes after their running and it`s drinking lots of beer. Here fits the sentence from the top of text about running problem, because if the toilet is sometimes too far then those who drink too much beer can get a running problem. After a while they are spreaded almost all over the world starting new clubs in many countries. Their rules about drinking and running are basicly the same anywhere. But rules are not strict so hashers prefer to say like there are no rules. Anybody is welcome to join them. They have no any limits based on race, nationality, religion, sex, social or political background or generation. It`s very simple to join them, as well as abandon them. There is no member card nor members list. If someone wanna join but have problems with running for any reason, then there are alternatives to running, like walking. Hashers have a meeting ones or twice a week, then divide into two groups, a running and a walking group. Usually they make a deal on the previous meeting about who is gonna lead one and other group the next time. Every time they choose a different location for walking and running. Before they start some of them walk through the proposed route and with chalk put some marks on the walls and streets. These marks suppose to direct walkers and runners, to warn them if they are going the wrong direction or inform them when they have to turn left, right, up & down etc..
It can be a little bit problematic when rain falls and wash the marks, but it wouldn`t stop them. After walking & running all suppose to meet on the starting position. Then all go to a favourit bar and there they "hit the beers". Since there is no strict rules, anybody who prefer other drinks is free to order something else. Who is paying all of that? Everybody pays, for example in Sarajevo`s Hash all suppose to give 10 DM / KM to their coordinator before they go to run and walk. That money would be used for drinks later on.
Now, athough all that looks pretty simple it is not that simple, there are some ceremonial silly things. So for example each member gotta have a nickname to be called by others in group. Nicknames are mostly related to some sexual charachteristics of member. All nicknames are in English as well as communication among the members. This could perhaps discourage people who are interested in joining to Hash but they don`t speak English, but Sarajevo`s Hash already have a couple of bosnian members so it can help in the beginning. Whoever wants to get Hash nickname first needs to go through the ceremonial process. It`s like she or he is supposed to get down on the knees in front of others and drink a beer from one bigger dish or glass to the bottom, without taking a breath if it`s possible. If one cannot drink it all then the rest he have to spill over the head. Then it becomes a member with nickname, and nicknames like "Ball crasher", "Bottomsup" or "Mr bitch" speaks enough for itselfs. During the running and walking "session" it`s not allowed to go to the stores to buy some juice or cigarettes or even beer before the finish. Otherwise there are some small "penalties" like those who break the rules "must" drink fast one, two or three beers in front of others. Because of such a "penalties" many members loves to break the rules. Also during the drinking part they are watching if someone got brand new shoes, sneakers or boots. When they notice someone with new ones on his feets, then they make him to drink wine from his new footwear, if he refuse then others starts teasing him. It`s not allowed to drink a bear before the intro speach of someone who is (unofficially) incharge for that night. If you do that before, then you would feel a small pushing to your back by one lady who is warning you to sustain for a while. All the time hashers are singing loud, because they have a lot of short songs with silly lyrics, allusions to shaging and things like that. Some of the songs are cover versions of the british football hooligans scan on the stadiums. Here is just one of many :
"We call upon_____
To give us a song
So sing, you fucker, sing!
And if you don`t sing,
You can show us your swing.
We don`t want to see your moldy old swing!
So sing you fucker, sing!
There is also Hash hymn song which beside lyrics includes choreography to learn, while singing you need to do special moves with hands. How Hash fits into Sarajevo`s everyday life ? So far fine enough. Sarajevans are use to see foreigners running accross the town, mostly SFOR soldiers. But unlike SFOR and NATO guys, hashers are running not only in the parks and places for running but everywhere around. Since the runningtrack is different every time, they are running & walking sometimes in the narrow and steep streets of the Sarajevo old town, and sometimes over the hills and mountains around and sometimes out of the city. Places which are not for running. That`s why they seem to look a little bit strange to local passers by. The same is with walkers, especially when they get lost. Once when they were walking on the highest position of Pofalici settlement, some male teenagers were teasing a few attractive walking female hashers. One of those "puberty" boys even said : "Come to me honey, I have a special map to direct you if you got lost". Well, in that group were internationals only (apart from columnist of this text) so they couldn`t understand them, or pretend they couldn`t. The running group is interesting for small kids and stray dogs. Children like to shout at them something like: "Let`s go, let`s go, one two, one two, come on, faster, faster!"
Bosnians as a population are not running people. They are not much crazy for athletics and sport activities of this type. It`s rare to see Bosnians running around just like that, for their own pleasure or health. Even if there are some Bosnians running it would mean they are either members of some sport team, maybe club or national team so they are in the middle of training or they are running to catch a bus or tram (unless they make a cigarette break to refresh their lungs). During the war and siege time, Sarajevans were forced to run for their life because of many snipers shooting towards town, so maybe ever since then they have some traumas of running too much, who knows. But Bosnians are used to walk a lot so they can assimilate among Hash walkers at least. Since locals mostly doesn`t give a shit for running, then they rather watch hashers from their gardens and yards while chewing meat with salad and swallowing it together with some rakija or beer. They perhaps consider all those runners as weirdo's. Among Sarajevo`s hashers we can find even some diplomats from the embassies. They take their children sometimes to involve them in Hash activities. All of that looks as a game to kids so they are more loud then others, and passers by notice that. One american kid was warned once by a lady from the US embassy to think of his behaviour because he is also representing his country to local people. Sarajevo hashers are planning to extend their activities. They would like to motivate people in city settlements where is too much garbage around blocks, to remove trash together with them. To help people to clean the space in front of their buildings and houses. Hashers would even donate to people new garbage cans. All members of Sarajevo Hash group are on good positions with good salaries and good cars (UN, OSCE, embassies, NGOs etc..). Of course it has nothing with accepting new members. All of them are very nice and friendly. They would accept even somebody who is unemployed and completely broke but yet wanna hash together with them. They would offer a help to such a person. They are gently teasing new comers by calling them a virgins. However they have a good time, and all interested persons can contact charming swedish lady named Eva who is one of the main Sarajevo Hash contact persons. Contact
You are welcome to call her, and Eva will inform you when and where to meet the hashers. Cheers