Norwegians tend to go to the top of the mountain and back down again, they might go alone or in a group, they will write their names in a book that proves that they have been there, might take a picture of the view or their sweaty faces and post it on social media, may bring a “matpakke” (food pack), and may do the same hike repeatedly to beat their own time record or see the view at different times of the day or in different seasons.
This past Saturday, 12 Norwegians from Lovasoa (including four from Connect: Silje, Pernille, Monica, and I) had signed up for a trip to the top of Mount Ibity, at 2292m. Then plans changed…When we arrived at the entrance to the National park there was confusion as to who was supposed to receive the tourist fee, and the officials wanted to require us to hire a local guide in addition. Instead, Hery (our guide from Lovasoa) suggested a different trip. We agreed. It sounded “nicer” and “more interesting”. What we didn't know what that it would end up being more than 6 hours walking!
Below you can read more and see pictures:
If you want to see more pictures, check out www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1375535955820565&id=253767497997422
There were so many things we saw along the way, and so many different areas: Dry and wet areas, kids that were afraid/skeptical of us and kids that came running toward us, Merina and Betsileo people and a combination of the two, a village where the work of 50 % of the men is making spades for the rice field, gigantic (!) non-poisonous spiders, and more.
My favorite part of the trip was when Hery said that we were free to choose the quickest way to the village on the other side of the many many rice fields. What a privilege to be able to just enjoy balancing across the beautiful area! It was much greener than any of the pictures above, but unfortunately I was too absorbed balancing and enjoying myself to remember to document it.
Siri, the missionary here, told Hery about the Norwegian way of hiking that I shared at the top. I second her reflection on the experience we had: We benefit from trips like this, so unlike the ones that are common in Norway. Besides returning to the car, our trip had no specific goal or destination. To continue the comparison it was process-oriented instead of goal-oriented. We walked, we enjoyed scenery, Hery talked to people he met along the way, and we experienced things. It was a journey - as life is a journey! If you climb a mountain you have to come down again, and if you reach a goal you have no further to go. You have to start from scratch with a new goal. However, if you are on a journey you can continue indefinitely to experience and learn new things, and to go new places!
Until next time!
(Hopefully relatively soon)