Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So this is the last post before I leave the stunningly gorgeous continent on which I am currently residing: a post which comes at a time when I'm sitting up rubbing my head saying 'where am I, how did I get here, and where did the last 2 months go?'. That's just one side though. On the other hand, when I think about certain American things, I instantly know that I've been here for what seems like a very long time. Anyway, I've gained a healthy respect for Jennifer, and the work she's doing here, learned that patience is indeed a virtue; while any suppositions that I had any strains of said virtue went sliding down the tube at an incredible velocity, learned that the human digestive system can stand up to some amazing tests, learned that my status as an EMT proves only that I know less than nothing when it comes to anything too far from an ambulance and the supplies it carries, to use the words of an ER nurse with whom I had the privilege of working, and watched in awe as each of my little 'bubbles' was rudely burst, one by one, and reality took their place. In short, I've discovered a very small slice of life in Africa.
Was the trip worth it? Totally. Would I do it again? Sure. I'd change a few things, but I'd do it again. Do I get excited at the thought of the States? Absolutely.
To change the topic to recent happenings, I had an ...interesting... experience yesterday: I decided to hike back to a lake in the bush to get some pictures. So here goes Caleb, all geared up for a bush hike: Machete, backpack with general expedition supplies, 2 litres of Mazo, knife, hiking boots; everything I should need right? Well, with the exception of chest waders, yeah. So I find the lake, decide to walk all the way around it to get various pictures, and with that plan in mind, proceed down the nice little trail that runs along the one side of it. All was going well until the path ended. No big deal, hey? Walking through unblazed bush shouldn't be a problem... Should be kinda cool actually. And it was! Absolutely beautiful area. So after hiking for a while, I choose a spot to sit down for a minute and just take in the view. Good idea, because just after I sit down, a small crocodile runs out of the weeds and into the water, and I was hoping to see one. Excitement gave way to anxiety a moment later when I started feeling the ants. Yeah. Lots of 'em. And these aren't anything like American ants; I decided that after the first bite, and the decision kind of came rushing out in a yell. Fortunately, the top of my combat boots was confusing them for some reason, so the majority of them were staying on the boots, but enough made it over the top to wake me up. The next step was to head a mile or so away from the lake, in an attempt to avoid the deep swamp that blocked my way for as far as I could see, and after discovering that the swamp was not going to end, I had to choose between going back, or crossing the swamp. I took the more intriguing option, and prepared to cross. It was painstakingly slow moving between clumps of grass in order to keep myself on the surface, but manageable. That is, until I had moved a couple hundred yards out, and it suddenly got much deeper, and the grass clumps were scattered farther and farther apart. Inevitably, I finally missed one and sunk almost to my waist before I stopped myself, at which point I decided, heck with it; I'm wading across. Moving was slightly faster after that, despite the heavy mud, and eventually I reached the other side. So, I complete the circuit of the lake, take some snap shots, and strike out for the road. Now, I took a bus out of town to near the spot where I intended to enter the bush, dropped there, and hiked in, with the intent of doing the same in reverse order at the end of my little expedition. Great idea, but the bus drivers didn't think so when they saw me emerge from the woods and prepare to board. Can't say I really blame them either, so, out of options, i walked all the way back. btw, everyone i passed on the way back thought it was absolutely hilarious to see a white guy covered in mud, smelling like a swamp, and clutching a camera, limping down the side of the road. And I didn't.
oh, and apparently I'm not a very dedicated photographer, because from the swamp on out, i forgot to take any pictures.
Anyway, that's pretty much the latest. 2 more weeks, and they're going fast.


Rhonda said...

Yikes! I remember the ants we had in Arizona and they were painful enough.
I totally know what you mean about the time going by to fast. I have just a month left here in California. It doesn't seem possible that it has been that long since I came here. I am going to miss it here when I go home.
I heard a pastor preach at church Sunday night who just came home from Zambia. I don't know how long he spent there. He kept saying that it was life changing.

Gabrielle said...

That is funny,Caleb! Too bad you didn't get any pics. :(
What kind of ants did they look like??

Good to hear your're still alive :)

Hannah said...

Sounds like you're having quite the experience - not that it's hurt you any! :-) I think we could all use ame patience exercises! :-)

Hannah said...

Sorry - *some