Feb 5, 2014

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata literally means "no worries" in Swahili. It's similar to the English phrase "don't worry, be happy". When I first heard this phrase, minutes after arriving in Tanzania, the Lion King song immediately popped into my brain. 
Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days
It's our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!
Hakuna Matata?
Yeah. It's our motto!
What's a motto?
Nothing. What's a-motto with you?
Those two words will solve all your problems
So would these two words really solve my problems? I woke up on day 4 looking forward to the short day that lie ahead today with only a couple of miles to cover. Little did I know the short day meant climbing up a steep 500ft switchback wall called BrrancoWall. 
We started hiking up and quickly the non-technical leisurely walk turned into what I would call a technical, fear invoking climb where I searched for the appropriate hand and foot holes to pull myself over rocks. “I didn’t sign up for this! I signed up for non technical?!”
For the first time in 4 days I felt my mind and body being challenged in ways I didn’t imagine. I could feel the fear inside me screaming “you're going to slip and die” but there was no time to entertain the fear. 
The thoughts would rise and fall as I moved forward trusting the footwork of Jenny, whowas in front of me, and taking help from the guide to get me through some binds. Whenever I made the mistake of looking up, the 500 ft wall seemed never ending, I wouldn’t dare look down. 
As a struggled internally and externally to keep moving forward my anguish was intermittently alleviated by the friendly and playful chats with the porters who zipped by me literally bouncing from one rock to another singing and chanting “Hakuna Matata” no worries or “Pole Pole slowly,slowly .
To distract my fear I joined in on the conversations throwing out every Swahili word I had picked up. The cheering encouragement was a lifesaver. The end had finally arrived and we are at the top. Once at the top I finally looked down and appreciated the work I’d done and the landscape that surrounded us.  
I captured what the wall represented to me in crow pose on the edge of the wall. Just like with crow pose it takes overcoming fear and looking forward to find balance and fly so to it took with climbing Barranco wall.
The hardest part of Day 4 was behind us, an hour later at noon, we were at Karanga camp with a whole day to rest and relax. We spent the day inside the food tent playing card games, drinking tea, and enjoying the rest. 
Before turning in for the night we gathered our entire crew to pop some champagne and make a toast to say goodbye to 2013 and welcome the New Year!