Napier Trek - Private Space
Tue 25 Nov
As was often the case we had at least 10 children each as we left the village but they quite obediently stopped and waved goodbye when we suggested it. Within an hour we reached the other side of the plain and looked out across the Beshlo gorge. It was a long way down, even to a shoulder and the paths were loose scree and sometimes across quite steep slopes. As we descended deeper into the gorge it got hotter with less breeze. We knew there would be no road bridge and the river would be deep enough that we may wade up to our waists (Michelleís waist at least). Solomon brought a rope in case the current was strong but we didnít need it. Curiously having carefully got across keeping as dry as possible we changed into our swimming things and got wet anyway. Our assistant guides and Solomon enjoyed splashing each other and shrieking "crocodile". After lunch we made our way up a dry river valley for a couple of hours in the scorching heat before finding a postage-stamp-sized piece of grass that was to be our campsite. This was our first camp nowhere near people and also with no nearby water source. The privacy was wonderful but shortage of clear water threw us into a management-training-style exercise of how best to collect, filter and purify all the water we could find. The mule men were persuaded (just about) to fetch the water from a muddy spring 20mins away, it was very cloudy. From a branch of a tree we used karibeners to suspend three filter sacks; these would need refilling, removing and cleaning often. Below was a large plastic washing bowl to collect the drips, which we transferred to kettles and boiled. Anyway, perhaps you had to be there to sense the thrill of designing and implementing something for our "survival".
That night it was so warm we sat out for supper and after everyone else retired I sat by the fire. It felt very peaceful and simple, a chance to collect my thoughts, people Iíd left at home, places I might travel to next, what to do with my life: to work for water projects? to get back into money generating banking IT? was I searching? or running away? should I stop and be patient or should I chase my dreams? The starry sky was fantastic and so clear. So many shooting stars, so many wishes.
Before any of these questions could be answered our armed guard (who was also a priest) came and sat by the fire. He continued to recite his prayers, which I found to be intrusive. Then he started throwing "trees" onto MY fire. Was I being selfish? Perhaps this was really the night watchmanís fire? Perhaps he was wishing I would go to bed so he could settle down for the night? Is it a cultural thing perhaps, that I am not capable or caste to do menial tasks like putting wood on the fire, or perhaps itís bad manners for foreigners to use local wood when there are locals around? Having stoked the fire he walked off and left me to it. I quickly took the trees off again. By 2330 I realised that I could quite comfortably sleep where I was if I didnít move soon, so gave in and went to my tent. Within an hour there were shrieks and shouts from the mule men and the sound of mules scampering. Danger was near us. The crew were mobilised. Solomon stopped snoring. Apparently we had been visited by hyenas.
Napier Trek - Private Space