Sunday, January 29, 2012

Zanzibar Bound


I cannot believe it’s been 28 days since I left home. The peaks/mountain climbing portion of this trip is over. I have bittersweet feelings about it ending.

Kili, Meru, Mt Kenya, SIC, LWF, St Jude’s and all of the experiences between the planned events that tie the minutes to hours to days to weeks together each deserve their own space here. The moments between the moments deserve their own space here… but time takes on funny form in Africa. Everything (EVERYTHING) is late, but not late because no one really pays attention to time… there’s not really such a thing as being “on time” (unless of course, you’re working with Europeans or Americans). You learn very quickly to go with the flow. It’s nice really – once you get used to it.

Right so I was saying… Time has flown. I can’t believe the climbs are over. A success in every way. All 11 of us reaching the top of each mountain – certainly fighting our own battles internally and externally along the way. I am so proud of our team… so happy to have been part of it.

At the same time that I’m shocked that the climbs are over and that I’ve already been here a month, I can’t believe how LONG it feels like I’ve been gone. I swear I can barely see the place I called home. It has to have been three years ago that I left Epicor. A lifetime ago since I ran my favorite trails singing along to my favorite music… dancing when I could find the breath.

New forms of life have taken over - like the forest we climbed down yesterday to complete our decent from the top of Africa. Well, Africans call it a forest – I call it a jungle. The endless trails are hidden from the sun by the tall, thin, leafy trees that seem to be draped in some kind of moss, or grass. Monkeys swing from tree to tree (this sounds really amazing, but turns out they’re just oversized, mean rodents… I think of them like seagulls, but smarter, and more aggressive), butterflies ABOUND, cool breezes blow through, and occasionally the bluest sky will poke through the greenest leaves and allow the sun to trickle through. If you pay enough attention or bother to turn around at the right time, the tallest point on Africa will show her face… So a potentially uneventful day of hiking down the mountain proves to be another entirely new, mind blowing experience. I walked behind the group by several feet and stopped to breathe it in. “What if I never come back here?” and then the really mind-boggling question “what else is out there on this planet that I MUST SEE???”

Other randomness to process: Shoes, everywhere. So odd, random shoes in the middle of the street! Last night we had a big celebratory dinner and ended up at a club. I stepped out the back door (not really a back door, cause there weren’t really doors…) of the club into a courtyardish area to make a phone call. And of course – there were shoes on the ground. Random shoes. Then – about three hours later I look up to see a traditional Masai warrior gettin’ his groove on on the dance floor.

These little moments or hours seem to fill the space in my head that was once occupied by stress with work, home and relationships. Constant processing of the newness around me has stripped me of any opportunity of worry. While I realize I have a lot to catch up on with regards to the blog and relationships at home, I’m still in the process of letting the experiences of the last four weeks wash through me – trying to make sense of all of them.


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