If I could only use one word to describe today it would be stuck (Kukwama).
We started the day early with a rented car, a driver and myself and a friend of Moshi’s. We ended up in the small village of Tobeke and met met up with another friend who was going to help us navigate for the afternoon. The goal was to get pictures of the canoes on the lake in this tiny village but it was market day so there were no canoes on the water, the fishermen were all at the market. We got back in the car and headed to the market. About a mile from the market we needed to pass deep muddy tracks that were filled with water. The driver revved the engine and booted it through but about halfway we got stuck. It was market day and there were hundreds of people in the area so everyone stopped to help or at least offer us some advice. I was surrounded by kids and had a conversation with a young girl whose english was as good as my swahili. She asked my my father’s name and I responded “Mimi baba itwa Irv” and I asked the names of all the kids. This went on for awhile. We finally got another truck to pull us out over an hour later but then he got stuck so we had to get him out, which we did. At the back of my mind I kept thinking how are we going to get back.
Back on the road we stopped at the market and then headed to another village where there is a water source that supplies thousands of people in the area. The idea of this tour is to stop to see the reservoirs and then trek though the forest to the waterfall which is the source. We met up with the watchman who took us down to the reservoir and we had to cross this little bridge. I stepped over the bridge and my foot landed in the sand just below the platform and I sunk and had to be pulled out just like the car. Dripping and wet and a mildly embarrassed we kept moving.
We trekked into the forest on our way to the falls. An hour later we finally got to the top of the mountain. It was beautiful and overlooked a crater. Well worth the trek, I thought, and was happy that we had made it but more happy that we would be heading back. Instead we started going down the mountain so that we could see it from the bottom. Just as we were almost there I grabbed onto a tree and felt like I didn’t want to go any further. I was stuck. It wasn’t dangerous or anything but I just didn’t want to keep going. Moshi convinced me to keep moving and only 2 minutes later we were at the bottom and it was stunning and I can’t imagine having missed it. We sat and watched the fall and took pictures and breathed in the wet fresh air. The pictures just don’t capture it, you have to climb down to feel the beauty.
The thing with being stuck is that it doesn’t last forever. It’s more of a moment (sometimes a long moment) of transition where, at some point, you have to make a decision one way or another about what to do. We kept digging the car and called a truck and finally we weren’t stuck anymore. With the trek I had a choice whether to remain clinging to a tree or continue down and I choose to continue. Being stuck is kind of fun really and the thing is when you think of how you are going to get back, you always do somehow. You find that little bit of extra inside of yourself and you just keep going and then when it’s over you feel more than alive.
ps. We never did get the pictures of that canoe