“We’ll walk for an hour and then turn around and come back.”
That was the plan. Juli, and her two friends (April & Julius) with whom she’s climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro were going on a walk in the morning. Although I’m not climbing I opted to join them. We were to meet at 6:30 in the morning, walk until 7:30 and be back in time for breakfast. That’s not exactly how things turned out.
As we walked, we saw either a large hill or a small mountain in the distance. We started wondering how far away it was and made our ways towards it. Six hours later, not only had we made it to the base of the mountain, we had climbed the mountain, and made our way back for a late lunch. It was a tiring, yet wonderful experience.
The view on top of the mountain was amazing, but even more wonderful was the friends we met along the way who helped the white people figure out where in the world we were going. One man, Silas, stayed with us for three hours, solely out of the goodness of his heart. Countless others walked with us part of the way or gave us directions. Juli has told me since I got here that there would be no way that I could get lost – my appearance alone makes me an anomaly in the surrounding communities. Someone would eventually find me. What she didn’t tell me about is the number of people who would stop what they were doing to help me find my way.
A few funny things that happened along the way, and a few lessons learned (or re-learned):
• As we were walking the men who were leading us gave out a sudden yell. A rabbit had come scurrying right in front of us, chased by two dogs. Juli said she had never heard Kalingi (the tribal language) yelled like that.
• We crossed a structure that was supposedly called a bridge, but was really a bunch of sticks that were randomly nailed together. The first time across, Silas remarked to me “you’re shaking.” And I was. I did much better the second time through.
• When we were almost near the base, we were going to turn back because the sun had started to rise and we were worried about getting burned; Silas was the one who encouraged us to keep going and reach our goal.
• If you are going out in Kenya, wear sunscreen even if you think you’ll be back before the sun rises. You might not.
• When going for a hike, bring snacks and enough water to double your trip. You never know when you might change plans.
• If the opportunity appears to change plans and have an unintended adventure, its usually best to take it. You probably won’t regret it, and if you don’t take it, you’d never know anyway. The best things happen in the unexpected times of life.
• Help people you meet along the way. You never know when you might be the one in need of help.
• God’s creation is truly amazing. If you have the opportunity to explore it, do so, and appreciate its wonder.