On Saturday, we all left at 9;30 in the morning to hike to a waterfall. Julius, a worker at Neema, went on and on about how it was so beautiful and would only take about 3 hours. Julius drove us to a government building to park the car, and asked if anyone would like to use the restroom here before we started. About half of us went and were met with a hole in the ground. I was used to these considering this was about all they had in China, but some of the other volunteers were not so lucky.
The hike started off on a road which threw me off a bit because i expected there to be a trail like in America. We hiked on a gravel road uphill through a…neighborhood is the best way i can describe it.
(There is trash on the road because it was trash day) The more we hiked the more i realized why we couldn’t drive through the neighborhood. The roads were so torn up they barely resembled roads. Also the road was way too slippery and muddy. The hike on the road was over a mile. We passed tons of people sitting outside or selling merchandise. I think my favorite people to pass were the kids. They would run to the edge of their drive way or their for and yell “HI” at us until we would turn around and say it back. Then they would run off giggling.
Once we got passed the really busy part of the road we would only run into houses every several hundred feet. We passed one house that had a group of teenagers sitting outside and they joined us while hiking up the the remainder of the road. A boy named Albert was walking with me. His english was pretty good and when we ran out of small talk, he started trying to teach me Swahili. I am absolutely terrible at Swahili and i don’t remember anything he taught me. Still, he was very nice and friendly and i think i was a good excuse for him to practice his english. The Tanzanian teenagers followed us all the way to the top of the hill. They had a name for this place, but of course, i have forgotten. It was spectacular, though.
Pictures and words could never do it justice. One thing i absolutely love is that the land here is untouched. I am surrounded by so much nature and the best part is that i know i am purely looking at God’s creation without any human influence. There are gorgeous parts of America, but even national parks have been throughly investigated by man. The most amazing parts then exploited for human pleasure. Here, though, i feel as if when i look at the nature in front of me, theres a pretty good chance no human has altered it or exploited it. I see God in the nature around me because I know it is only his hand’s that have touched it.
Once we got to the top of the hill we finally started on a trail, if you could call it that. The trail wasn’t what you would immediately picture. In fact i wouldn’t have even recognized we were on a trail. I just followed Julius through the trees.
The hike was nice and peaceful until we had to go down. There wasn’t nicely paved steps for us or hand railings to hold on to. I would say we ‘slid’ down the side of this drop off. We were constantly reminded to watch our step and go slowly because if we made the wrong step and slipped, we would go tumbling down and die. (those were the words of our guide exactly) It was muddy and steep, and I just kept thinking that this would be the perfect spot for a black mamba, the most poisonous snake in the world. As we continuously got our backsides and hands muddy, I thought of how it cool it was that i was hiking through the african jungle with the possibility of getting murdered by poisonous creatures with every step.
I learned in biology this year about how humans, more specifically Americans, have removed themselves from nature to such an extreme that Natural Selection cannot touch us. In a lot of ways it is a very good thing that we are developed enough to protect ourselves and people with disabilities that would have once just been left to die. However, I can’t help but think how by removing ourselves from nature, and, more importantly, the God-made process of natural selection, we are removing ourselves from God too. Therefore, to be immersed in nature to such a degree that I was rendered helpless to God’s more deadly creatures was a fascinating and marveling concept.
When we finished climbing down the hill. We were met by a stream. We took a couple of minutes to catch our breath and take some pictures.
When we started again, we walked about 20 feet before meeting a stream of water with now way around. We all ended up taking our shoes off and walking through knee deep water. it was awful. the stream was filled with sharp rocks and we finally had some relief it was mud that squished in between your toes and stayed there.
We walked with no shoes through water, mud, and rocks for about a mile until we finally got a glimpse of what we travelled all that way for.
It was something out of a national geographic magazine. In fact, id go as far as to say it was the cover of a National Geographic magazine. It was absolutely breathtaking. We stayed there for an hour swimming and taking pictures. It is crazy to think that I have seen such breathtaking beauty that only a handful of people even know exist. Isn’t that crazy???