This Saturday the entire HESE team planned to hike. Though most of the locals seem to think we’re crazy for wanting to climb a hill for fun, we decided to continue on anyways. In the morning Haley and Nolan went out to collect more water conceptualization interviews while some of the teams headed to the office and the rest of the greenhouse group remained at the hotel to work in the common room. After half a day’s work Khanjan came to get us all in the truck to head to the mountain (apparently actually a hill.) Once there, we waited at the foot of the hill for the car to go back and get the rest of the teams from the office at the World Hope center.
Time passed slowly as we were anxious to get started up the steep hill where we knew a nice breeze and a beautiful vantage pointed awaited us at the top. After sitting under a nice shady tree and making friends with the neighborhood boys, the rest of our group finally arrived and began our hike. Though we had been warned that it was a tough climb, none of us expected it to be quite so steep and slippery. Soon enough everyone was no longer upright, but all had to physically climb the rock faces to get up the hillside. Unfortunately due to a recent rain, it was a bit more slippery than we would’ve preferred. We quickly learned from the boys who accompanied us up the hill, that we could use the plants sticking up through the rocks as hand and foot holds to get through the steepest spots. Many of us doubted that we could make it all up, but eventually everyone straggled to the top.
From atop Wusum Hill, you could see all of Makeni and much of Bombali District. The local boys pointed out the field where they play soccer on the weekends, their school, and many of their homes. We took the opportunity to drink some water and rest after the grueling ascent, and of course, take many pictures. Jawara, our right-hand man and field translator who interns at World Hope, was also on the hike and guided us to a less steep path down the hillside. By the time we reached the bottom, everyone was muddy, soaked in sweat, and absolutely exhausted. Luckily, we headed directly to dinner where we tended to our growling stomachs and then back to the hotel to clean ourselves up. Everyone agreed that though it was the most physically challenging day of the trip so far, it was certainly worth it.