Lynder Onyango says running has been her key to getting to know the city
For someone who had never stepped out of Kenya for 30 years, Lynder Adhiambo Onyango was taken by surprise when Maersk Line, her employer, gave her a three year contract to Chennai in 2012. “I had no plans of coming to India. It just happened that the company wanted me to take care of things here,” says Onyango, 33. In the city for almost two years now, she takes care of the import and transactions with all Eastern African nations for the shipping giant.
While most of her time is spent at her office in OMR, Onyango takes time off to unwind every weekend. “I go running with a group called Hash, who meet every week. We walk about five to six kilometres in and around Chennai,” says Onyango, about the activity that has taught her much about the city. Anna Nagar, Mount Round, outskirts like Mahabalipuram, Ecr/Uthandi – these are some of the places where they run and sometimes, they even head out of station for their running sessions. “My best run so far was in Kerala, where we did a trail along the backwaters in Allapey and through tea plantations in Munnar,” she recalls.
The running aside, Onyango also makes it a point to pick up a few words in Tamil from her colleagues and friends. “Language has never been a barrier to me,” she says confidently, adding that she feels that one could get by even without knowing the local language in India, because most of the people she interacted with either knew or understood English. “For those that are not fluent I would rely more on their body language and facial expression to read what they are talking about; which can be quite hilarious at times though,” laughs Onyango, who, because of her tight schedule hasn’t had the chance to travel much apart from her brief visits to Sri Lanka and Kerala. But as her three-year stint in Chennai comes to its end, she says that visits to the Himalayas, Goa, parts of North India and Delhi are on the cards.