December 22, 2007

Lumangwe Falls in Zambia

My daughter, Amy-- in Zambia with her husband and six children-- sent me this note. They live in in a remote-- and beautiful-- area and she had an opportunity to enjoy it that I want to pass on to you.

(from Amy) I wasn't looking forward to my birthday at first, but then I was invited to go with some friends-- who are in Zambia as volunteers-- to see two of the amazing waterfalls in our area.

The following day two of the same girls came over and cooked me an Indian dinner while my kids baked me a chocolate cake with orange butter frosting.

The waterfalls are about 2 1/2 hours away from us-- the last hour is a dirt road. At one point we hit some wet mud and slid out of control for a bit before the driver was able to pull us out of it. Very scary! We also hit some large potholes and, since I was in the back of the four-wheel drive, I hit the roof a of couple times. Definitely a new experience-- since I am so short, my head rarely hits anything.

(If you want to see a photo and read the details of where she is about to tell us about, you can look here:

The falls were absolutely breathtaking. It really puts life and its problems in perspective. Like I said, I hadn't been looking forward to this birthday, not because of a number or anything-- I think it was more that I was just worn out and needed some time to myself and my brain latched on my birthday.

When I thought there was nothing to do for my birthday, I got a bit depressed-- but then the falls trip opened up. Standing there looking at the vastness of the waterfall, being drenched by the mist, it was all so awe-inspiring and reminded me that the same One who made these incredible sights was the One who was looking after every detail of my life. Who was I to grumble, worry, or get worked up?

I am amazed that more people don't visit the falls up here but the roads aren't paved for the last hour and there really aren't facilities around it to make staying here a possibility. Such a shame. On the other hand, it was so nice looking at a marvel of nature not surrounded by tourists and signs absolving whomever of any liability-- no gift shops, etc. I wish the whole world knew about these falls and, at the same time, I wish I could keep them all to myself.

There are two falls close to each other. We went to the first one and after looking at it from the top we climbed down the gully to the bottom of the falls so we could swim. I hadn't brought a swimming suit since I rarely go swimming-- preferring to read at the water's edge. But since this was a big day for me I decided to go for it all the way and swam in some of my clothes.

My kids were horrified when I got home. First of all, they were disappointed that they missed out on seeing me in the water because they are always begging me to swim and second, because they couldn't believe I swam in anything but a regulation swim suit.

After swimming for a few minutes we drove down to the second waterfall. In order to see this one we had to follow an overgrown path. I use the word 'path' in the loosest of terms-- We had to push our way between tall grass and thorny vines, climb over and under fallen tree trunks, and navigate slippery slopes. A couple of times we couldn't tell where the path was and had to guess.

Then, all of a sudden the path opened up and we were standing on this bluff looking at this amazing waterfall. The mist was blowing over us and the water was rushing down. It felt like perhaps we were the first ones ever to see this sight.

I got quite the workout that day-- climbing down and back up the first gully and then navigating the second path. As I was working my way back to the vehicle I was thinking how the memories of this day would last me a lifetime and my muscles would remember it for at least a week.

Thank you for the birthday greetings! It made me feel so loved to open my e-mail and see them there.


You can see more of Amy's family's work or write her at these addresses:

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