Going through the Wli falls…Yes, through!!!

June 28, 2009

Mark, Anna and I standing by the falls after we went through

Mark, Anna and I standing by the falls after we went through

Today, not only did we hike up to the Wli falls, four of us went through the 300-foot waterfall to touch the back wall! It was probably the most spectacular moment I have had to date.

It took us two hours to drive up to the falls. Last night, three ladies arrived from Philadelphia to help teach the children, and we’ve enjoyed getting to know them. Once we arrived on the sight, we had a 40-minute hike up to the falls. The hike was unreal. The path snaked through the jungle, long vines dangled over the near river and giant leaves the size of surfboards reached high over our heads. Mesmerized by the wild beauty of the jungle, I stood stunned in front of the tallest waterfall in West Africa. The water fell hundreds of feet down a rugged sheet of rock laced with a hint of green. The impact of the water into the pond was spectacular, sending a cloud of mist that reached us on shore. Eric, David, Lindsey and I were the first to venture to touch the falls. The power of the water was unbelievable. Within 15 feet of the falls, the water was hitting my face so hard I couldn’t see. We linked hands and walked backwards towards the water. My eyes were closed tight and the water was hitting me so hard I chickened out just when we were in the heat of it and went back. Next David convinced Eric and Anna to go through the waterfall and touch the back wall were there was no water, David said he did it last time (which turned out to be a bluff because he chickened out last time). This time I was determined to go through with. I returned, linked between David and Mark, this time my eyes were open. As we backed into the falls, so much force was hitting us it felt like were in the middle of Katrina. Directly under the falls, hundreds of pounds of water falling over our heads, we pushed through it until our backs hit the wall. It stung our skin as thousands of water pellets peppered our bare backs, but it was so worth it! As soon as made it to the other side we all screamed in exhilaration. Between sheets of rock and a wall of water, we had conquered our fears. I will never forget that moment.

I probably would not have been able to face Wli Falls, if I had not experienced the two scariest hours of my life driving up there. Maylinn, Eric, Mark and I sat gripping the seats of the 11-passenger van in silent panic as we ripped through the country side of Ghana. Picture this: narrow two lane roads with no shoulder, full of giant potholes, tons of goats wandering freely along the sides, plus half the time village huts lined the streets with people walking directly on the side. Now picture our van whipping around corners at top speed, passing every vehicle on the road (even though none of us know if there is another car around the corner), and swerving into the other lane to avoid the constant potholes. Thought I was going to die. On top of that, the road was super bumpy. In the last two rows we were actually airborne several times. Mark even hit his head on the ceiling of the van. It felt like we were in the middle of a blockbuster car chase, the only thing was no one was chasing us. Animals wander freely in Ghana, and they all stand on the side of the road for good reason. We must have passed 50 goats individually. It is miraculous we did not hit one. I said a little prayer of thanks when we arrived in one piece.

I am still astonished of the poverty I see. Every village we have passed is run down with crumbling clay huts. And rusty tin shelters. Nothing is up kept. Nothing is new. Nothing has the luxury of being invested into because people are just trying to survive. I feel like I am on another planet. And to think 80% of the world lives like this. My eyes are opened.


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