By Kimberly Gregory
On Sunday we climbed Mount Kasungu. This was a very challenging experience. I usually consider myself as being someone who is pretty in shape therefore I figured that it would be a fairly easy activity however, I was wrong. We started by walking approximately 5km to get to Mount Kasungu. As we were walking towards it, I was thinking to myself “wow, that mountain is looking bigger and bigger every minute”. I was panicking a little bit but I thought to myself, “if everyone else can do it, so can I”. Once we arrived in front of Mount Kasungu we got introduced to our theme song for the trip, “Personality”. We danced and laughed; this surely calmed me down, temporarily at least. Then we started climbing.
The first 10 minutes were not so bad but then it started getting steeper and steeper. After about 20 minutes of intense climbing, I needed to sit down to take a break. I felt dizzy and out of breath. I was very thankful that I was with a very caring group of people who were more than willing to take breaks once in a while and who were also very encouraging. To be honest, I think that this is what kept me going because it would be a lie to say that there wasn’t a few times when I thought, “maybe I should just go back down”.
This activity was not only challenging physically but also mentally. Every step I took, I watched where I put my feet to make sure that I was not stepping on any bugs or even worse, poisonous spiders or snakes. I would also take a few seconds to choose which rock I would step on and to determine whether or not it was stable enough to support my weight. I came extremely close to slipping and falling down many times. The only thing that saved me was being able to grasp on to the sturdy branches around me, as I was about to hit the ground. For these reasons, I would say that it was as much a physical workout as a mental one. (I thought that the way back down from the mountain would be easier however, it was also quite challenging. Luckily, one of the Malawian people held my hand for the steeper parts, which prevented me from falling.)
The view from the top of the mountain was absolutely breath taking. It made all the hard work worth it. I was happy that we had the opportunity to stay up there and enjoy the view for about a half an hour. We took many pictures, shared snacks, screamed and danced. All in all, it was a lot of fun. I even got the opportunity to see a family of monkeys. They were absolutely adorable and even though I have seen monkeys in real life before, it never seizes to amaze me to see them in their natural habitat.
I felt very accomplished when I finally arrived at the bottom of the mountain. Now, as we walk past Mount Kusungu everyday, I tell myself with pride, “I climbed that mountain”.