I’m not too sure I was excited leaving the comfort of the familiar for a place I had never been before. Why did it have to be here and not there? I had prayed about it, willed it to favour me through my mind (hoping I could change another’s decision through that method). When the letter came, I was glad I wasn’t flung to the ‘ends’ of the earth (where’s that by the way?) and I wasn’t happy either with the choice that was forced on me.
Hey…it didn’t turn out that bad, as I met some really cool people amidst the forest-looking vicinity we lodged. Some from better cities than I…but did that help my fear of the unknown? No way!
Barely getting use to the daily rigours, different sounds and its meaning and trying not to be afraid that some crawlies might come to visit from the bushes nearby, were we informed that tomorrow we will begin our journey. Hmmm! There’s goes my last connection with ‘civilization’.
We had trudged on the dusty paths in our white t-shirts, with brownish – pale green trousers and orange coloured boots and the feeling of achievement at being numbered amongst those who were doing the long walk. To us it seemed like we were the first to achieve such feats. But hey…a million more had done this before us. But we didn’t care; this was our moment… and enjoy it we were going to. The commandant had earlier warned us about using body sprays or perfume. And I thought to myself as I splurged on my deodorant “why go out smelling less than best this early morning, I’m sure this won’t attract anyone not to talk of insects”.
As we walked-climbed the hilly stony roads, singing funny songs with no real meaning, my battle with the buzzing ones began. As I hit one away from me, its friend came to say ‘hello’ and so we continued walking, singing, smacking at the insects and keeping up a brave face at the Commandant’s disapproving look of ‘I-told-you-so!’.
There it was…nature’s beauty
…like I imagined in my dreams (a thousand times).
I couldn’t believe we had such a place in this location, no not even in my country. The green leaves were alive and beckoning…inviting me to dare take a step towards the Fall…to stand beneath the rocks and experience the rich blend of Green and Brown with a rush of colourless water. Not sure when, but I found myself shivering under the rushing waters in my uniform and smiling from my heart. Not minding my hair, boots and others, as I drank in the scene. ..taking pictures as reminders…some in my thoughts and a few that got spoilt.
It’s been 16 years now…but every time I remember it, I am transported once again to the beautiful Waterfalls at Oyi in Anambra State.