Friday, May 13, 2011

Livingstone (Part 2)

The Baha’i Community
We spent one morning visiting some of the local Baha’is and meeting children and junior youth. The children and junior youth had prepared songs and quotes from their classes to share with us and they also invited us to play some of the games they had been playing in their classes. We were then asked to teach them a few games which we used in our own classes at Banani. What I found most exciting about this meeting was the realization that the books created by the Ruhi institute (in this case book 3 and 5) really has had a worldwide effect. The Baha’i children in Livingstone, though of course their class is unique and colored with their own individuality, are memorizing many of the same songs and quotes as the Baha’i children in Colorado, or any other part of the world! Baha’i communities are arising to create close-knit communities, and children’s classes are one of the many activities that have brought communities closer, and Zambia is no exception.

We were welcomed like family into the community and as we left the residential area, the children crowded around the Banani youth and showered us with their laughter and hugs, waving goodbye.

Victoria Falls: Knife Edge Bridge and the Boiling Pot

Mosi-oa-tunya: that’s Lozi for “the smoke that thunders”, an appropriate description for this 100 meter fall of water. Around 625 million liters of water rush over the edge per minute*, and the falls span the width of the Zambezi, around 1700 meters wide. But I’m not a fan of numbers, so suffice it to say the falls are a torrential and thundering downpour of H2O. Nura, Sharghi, Krista, and I walked out to the Knife Edge Bridge. It began to rain as walked and the storm shower combined with the mist from the falls soaked us through and through. “I’ve never been so wet,” Nura said “not even in the shower!”

The Knife Edge Bridge from a distance

The bridge to the Zimbabwe side

The Knife Edge Bridge crosses a section of the gorge and gives visitors another perspective of the falls. The mist is so heavy, however, that one must constantly watch for the mist to lift in order to catch brief glimpses of the curtain of water. There was so much water on the footpath that it covered my shoes and created miniature waterfalls on the stone steps.

The boiling pot is where the falls meet the river below and can be seen by taking a steep footbath to the bottom of the gorge. Along the way, one can enjoy the surreal rainforest landscape. White butterflies flutter up and down the heavily vegetated cliff edge and the sun shines through the glittering confetti-like spray of water. The mist from the falls makes it seem like there is always a light sprinkle of rain.

The rainforest bordering the boiling pot trail

Natal Spurfowl (Francolin) on the steps leading down to the boiling pot

At the bottom of the trail visitors stand at the edge of the Zambezi and see the powerful swirl of water created at the base of the falls. We also saw the bridge which crosses to Zimbabwe, where people bungee jump or ride the gorge swing (often times they are screaming as their bodies drop and twist like a limp doll into the gorge).

*This number is approximate and changes throughout the year. Peak flow happens to be in April, the time of my visit.

Ah yes, and once again what better way to end the post than with a picture of, I mean baboons!

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