Monday, March 29, 2010

Volcano Photo Album

The waves are crashing tonight and yesterday morning we climbed down from the summit of Nyiragongo.

Shit, it was incredible.

My God, but we’re in pain today. Our legs! Our arms! The sunburns on the backs of our necks!

There aren’t photos of the hail. I wish I could have gotten photos of the hail that started when we were half way up. But it was pretty violent and could have broken my camera.

With all the rain, the steep path turned into a waterfall. We hiked up a thin waterfall.

There aren’t photos of the last leg of the climb. It was 7 pm and pitch black. The smell of sulfur was intense. The slope was 45°. Pure terror and sweet adrenaline got me to the summit, where it wasn’t pitch black – the red glow from the lava pool lasted all night.

There aren’t photos from inside our tent. It wasn’t terrible. It was small and wet and cold, but we all spooned together for warmth. It was like a sleepover party as a little kid. I thought about all the families that live in one room homes and sleep in the same bed together every night, and sometimes their roofs leak. Our tent leaked. I thought of the banana leaf shelters of the North Kivu IDP camps. Those are barely bigger than our tent. Those leak when it rains. People live in those for two, three, ten years. We only had to spend one night in the elements. We cuddled with each other. We stayed warm.

It was really crazy and incredible.

There aren’t photos of the wind at night that made us think the tent might blow off the edge of the cliff and we might all tumble down the steep slope all the way back to Goma.

But there are photos of the glorious terrible power of our Earth.

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