Well hey there amigo, I humbly want to say thanks for stoppin by and takin interest in what this girl is doing! While you read, Keep in mind that the ideas and thoughts expressed in this thing are mine and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Peace Corps or the United States government...blah blah blah...go read!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mount Namuli

Since Jesse and I started planning our trip to Gurue to visit some other volunteers, we had Mt. Namuli in mind. A few Peace Corps Volunteers have climbed the mountain (second largest in Mozambique) and had enticing stories to share after, so I've had the itch since I heard about it. It's a rather difficult physical and strange cultural experience.
DAY 1: Our guide Rambo (a student of PCV's in Gurue) arrives at the house where we're staying at 5:00am. We make our way out of the city with backpacks of water, food, blankets, and a few extras. Sunrise over Gurue's tea fields is absolutely gorgious! We walk...and walk...and walk...over 25K, just to arrive at the base of the mountain.

Some kiddos along the way, happy to pose of course for a photo:-)
The hike is absolutely amazingly beautiful...and long.

When we finally arrive at the base of Mt. Namuli, we head strait to the Queen of the Mountain's house. We must pay her to cook for us, to sleep on her kitchen hut floor, to send up one of her family members as a guide, and to bless us so it doesn't rain on us tomorrow when we climb the mountain. These lil farts greeted us and couldn't get enough staring in. Don't think they see a whole lot of white folk:-)
After the exausting 9 hour hike, this is where we passed out til the Queen served dinner. This is where Jesse got to try real xima and eat with his hands for the first time!
This was our lovely accommodations for the night. Normally I am roasting here, but this area of Mozambique gets reallllly cold at night. After the fire went out in the hut, things got chilly. I was so tired though, that I didn't really mind freezing my butt off in the dirt.

DAY 2: 6:00am breakfast is served. Then comes the interesting stuff. I'm told not to point at the mountain because it's disrespectful to the spirits of the mountain and will, therefore, rain when I get to the top. We walk out into a grass field with the Queen of the mountain, the secretary, and a reallllllllly old woman. We squat down in a dirt clearing and the ceremony starts. The old woman takes the xima flour we brought her and makes some piles of it on the ground and dumps some of the beer we also brought her over it and then passes it around the circle as she says a bunch of stuff in a language I don't know. At this point I'm wondering if these people are laughing in their heads as they count the number of young Americans they've dragged through this whole series just to see if the dopes go along with it. Whatever. So we got our blessing and then I accidentally pointed to the mountain. Off to a great start!!!

10:00 am finally through all vegetation with the principal peak in sight!
So, some parts got a lil steep as you can see. Yikes. Tough climb. The Queen sure picked her weirdest relative to take us up. He spoke a little portuguese, a lot of local language, and made a lot of interesting animal noises.

All worth it though, once we reached the top!!!
Wowza! Take a look at the 360. We sat at the top and ate lunch then made our way back down the mountain and arrived back at Queenie's house by about 2:00 pm. She brought us more food and then we passed out in the kitchen hut for another cold night.
DAY 3: 3:00 am, I'm sick of not sleeping and ask Rambo and Jesse (who are also not sleeping) if we can just start out and get some hours of walking in before the sun comes out. A beautiful decision. With a full moon and set of stars goin full force far away from civilization, we got a few chilly but beautiful moonlit hiking hours in. Just a few more of the locals along the way back. What a cutie.
When we finally reached the tea fields again on the way back, the workers were out in full force and happy to get their pics taken:-)
11:00 am we finally arrive back to fellow PCV's house in Gurue, really dirty, really sweaty, really tired, and really hungry. One great trip.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the description. My wife just left this morning for 3 weeks of research on and around Mount Namuli, so it was great for me to see your pictures and read your words regarding the trip and the ceremony the Queen performs!