Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mountain of Confusion.

Saturday I joined some of the Maforga staff for a quick jaunt up the Mountain of Confusion (or in the local tongue Nharo-Nharo). This curiously named mountain is believed to be a spiritual place, and as such is used by witchdoctors to perform ceremonies.

(In fact, due to this spiritual side to the mountain, I’m told many of the locals who have lived here all their lives and never been to its peak; it’s just too scary.)

In addition to its spiritual fear, it also has a very real physical one as well –land mines.

Years ago during the war, Nharo-Nharos’s high elevation made for an ideal look-out spot for rebels. To keep their enemies away, land mines were generously peppered along its slopes. However today, that means there is still the very real danger that unexploded land mines still await anyone foolish enough to tread off the beaten path.

Well, oddly enough witchcraft and land mines didn’t seem to deter our motley crew. There were fourteen of us in all –two Americans, an Aussie, a Brit, a Dutchman, and a medley of missionary kids and orphans.

We made a bit of a scene when we arrived at the mountain’s base. It’s not everyday, I suppose, that 14 people jump out of one truck and march up the steepest slope.

Had I known that we’d be taking the hardest route up the mountain, I would have submitted an official protest, but my one vote would not have mattered much; I am sure.

And had they all known that they’d invited the world’s least fit American up the mountain, they may have pushed me from the truck long before we ever arrived at our destination.
               --But I guess a surprises never hurt anyone, right?

More than once did I see doubt in their eyes as they watched me huff and puff my miserable way up the mountain. I sounded like a winded tea kettle and was equally as hot.

The kids didn’t seem to even notice the near vertical incline; and rarely did the (ridiculously fit and) seasoned missionaries stop in their upward climb; I was the only straggler.

At one point, one of the kids decided to try and walk with me, but I could see she was bored rather quickly. I’d take three steps than stop, huff and puff, turn three shades of red, then take three more steps.
             -- Slow and steady wins the race, right?

It didn’t take us long to reach the top, however, and in the end all my huffing and puffing was worth it. The view was spectacular.

Yellowed under the smoky haze and sparsely planted with trees, the Mozambican landscape stretched out for miles. It vibrated with potential.

It’s a land rich in beauty just begging to burst in green lush-ness… if only the rains would come.

At the top, we had a quick devotion then lunched on egg sandwiches and bananas. Afterward we took pictures and enjoyed the view. But we were not the only ones on top of the mountain; there was a Zionist group there as well.

I am told that the Zionists practice a synchronized religion of Christianity and traditional witchcraft. And naturally, since they believe the ‘high grounds’ get one closer to God, they often go to the Mountain of Confusion to worship.

Coming down the mountain was faster but just as hard as going up. The steep incline made balancing difficult, and many of our group chose to scoot down on their butts. But since the mountain has been scorched (much like the rest of the nation), this meant we arrived soot covered but safe.

All in all, it was a good day. I’m so glad I went.