Soccer in the mist.
The beautiful misty mountains.
My first zimmiejohn ride :)
Last weekend I was part of a group of 17 that took a 7 hour bus ride to Togo, a country bordering Benin, for the weekend.
My life is an adventure and I like it that way.
We left at 3:45 Friday morning (which obviously wasn't my idea) and arrived at our "hotel" around 12 pm. It was the typical cram-a-bunch-of-people-into-a-small-mini-bus arrangement. Never comfortable, but what makes it a good story. I might mention that traveling in West Africa isn't for high maintenance personalities.
On Saturday we climbed Mount Agou, the highest mountain in Togo. The hike was tough but the scenery was so beautiful, it was completely worth it. The red clay villages nestled into the deep green mountains, which where covered in a dream-like fog, ought to be experienced rather than described. As we hiked through the greenery, we were surrounded by children with beautiful smiles and an unbelievable number of baby goats. About five minutes into the hike, my entire body was covered in sweat and mud. I adopted the title of "Mountain Meg" as I really looked like a ridiculous mountain woman.
That evening, a small group of us went to an amazing waterfall. It was the first time I ever stood under a waterfall, and I've decided, it's impossible to do so without letting out a girlish shriek. There is just something about the rush of the cold current that forces it out of you.
Sunday morning, half the group went home and the rest were tired, which left only six of us ready and able for hike #2 (also know as Team Waterfall). Because our vehicle had left with the group of returnees, we could only reach the base of the trail by riding on zimmiejohns (aka motorbikes) up the mountain. I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't nervous. In fact, I clung to my driver for the entire 20 minutes. But it was an amazing experience. The morning light magnificently illuminated the green mountains which were scattered with red-clay villages and winding yellow-dirt roads. The wind ferociously whipped through my hair giving me a sense of tremendous freedom. Everything about the experience was beautiful (although maybe not completely safe :) .
The hike was hard, but the friends I was with made it amazingly fun (my friends Kristian and Bowie marched along playing a recorder and harmonica..brilliant :). We walked through mountain villages, found plants that turn into paint (I was given a red butterfly tattoo), and stopped at a mist covered feild to play soccer with a half-inflated ball and some local boys. When in life do you ever get to do those things? Really?
The waterfall was our goal and we were not disappointed. It was perfectly nestled in a cove of green leaves and tiny purple flowers. The sun peaked through the dense shrubbery onto the powerful, white waters. We were able to climb up underneath the falls onto a rock and watch the water spill over our faces. It was amazing.
We decided not to hike back to the start of the trail, but instead, hired zimmiejohns to take us all the way down the mountain. The ride was about 30 minutes and beautiful in every way. We had to stop an wait for two of our friends at the halfway point. My friends Liz, Jess, Richard, and I, sat on a bench on the side of the mountain amazed at the adventure our lives had become. We were climbing mountains, playing in waterfalls, and riding motor bikes on dirt roads. Our bodies were covered in sweat and dirt, our legs sore, and our feet blistered, but no one would have chosen any other way. We were really living.
Our lives looked very different from the 9 to 5 pace of normal. No one was married. No one owned a home. Our banks account are growing more depleted with every month we live on the ship. None of us are certain what we are doing in January. But we would not have changed a thing.
As much as I love a good pair of heels and a fun dress, going out to dinner will never beat out playing in a waterfall with a few lovely friends.
I love feeling the wind in my hair. I love living with a sense of expectancy and adventure. I love that God has called me to be here and to have these moments. A good friend once told me that being a Christian is an adventure. She was right. It's the best adventure I've ever been on. I can't wait to see what happens next.
more photos here