20 May Finding the Beauty in Simplicity
Well, this weekend has been a whirlwind. We left for Negash Lodge yesterday afternoon. It was about a two-hour bus ride there and felt like we were riding a rollercoaster because of how bumpy it was. We finally made it to the Lodge just before dinner time and drove up to what were huts in a jungle. Each set of roommates shared a literal hut in the trees. Couldn’t get a more authentic experience than that! Solomon took us out in the trees at the lodge to feed peanuts and crackers to the monkeys. We put the food in the palm of our hand, and they literally came up and grabbed it out with their hands and stuffed their faces with food. It was so cool! This morning we woke up and drove another bumpy hour to Wenchi Crater Lake where we hiked about four miles down a mountain and took boats across the lake to an island with an Orthodox church from the 14th century. After we toured the island’s church, we rode horses back up to the top of the mountain. It was truly one of the most incredible experiences of my life and a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The view was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The trees were so green and the water so blue. Words could not possibly do this place justice. One of the things we pointed out on our journey, however, was that we were driving by the most beautiful parts of this country while also witnessing the poorest. As we left the city and entered the countryside, we experienced what most people probably think of when they picture an African country; houses were made from mud and sticks, and there wasn’t a paved road in sight. However, the simplicity of their lives was inspiring. While driving through these villages, we started asking each other whether or not we thought the people living out there were happy. To us, someone could not possibly be happy living in a situation like that. We can’t possibly imagine life without running water, wifi, or plumbing (going to the bathroom in a hole in the ground today really humbled us). However, we began to realize that these people know nothing else. Our perspectives on life are so different than theirs. Many times, these people are truly happy because they have what they need and they’re surrounded by some of the most gorgeous places in the world. It’s not a lifestyle we would ever dream of, but it’s a very noble and honorable way of life. I think many of us have realized that we don’t need everything we have to be happy. These people find happiness in those around them and in the beauty of the world, and we should start to do this too. We made it back to Addis tonight and are excited for sports day tomorrow. Africa has already opened my eyes to new things and taught me so much. I’m excited to see what the next week has in store!
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