Monday, December 2, 2013

Middle Men - 2nd Event

Middle Men was on again as we took our sons for a super camping weekend on the inner rim of Oldoinyo Nyukie (meaning The Red Mountain) or known modernly as Mount Suswa.  Oldoinyo Nyukie is in the Rift Valley between Nairobi and the Maasai Mara Preserve.  It is a special type of double crater volcano that provides an opportunity to explore an extensive network of caves derived from eons cooled lava tubes.

Cave Map
Mt. Suswa Sat View

Our first step was to connect with Jeremiah; our Maasai guide from the local clan.  The revenue from access to the area and camping goes partially to support works that benefit this community.

After our briefing we trekked to the cave entrances and descended into the "extinct" lava tubes.  The Rift Valley is still an active seismic area and there are tons of steam vents all over this region that indicate mother earth is not quite yet done changing topography here.

Fancying himself as a young Livingston on the verge of discovery
Baboon ladder
The caves wander and connect all over the place.  One of the things the Suswa caves is famous for is "The Baboon Parliament" where the baboons uniquely seek shelter inside a cave as opposed to trees as is normally found.  The BBC presented it in one of their documentaries a number of years ago that we had seen when still living in Rwanda. 
All the baboon poop you could possibly stand
Duncan enjoying one of the parliamentarian seats.  The rocks have been worn smooth by baboon booty...amazingly smooth.  A future in government?

We spent time sitting in the caves talking about light and dark. About how dark does not extinguish the light but rather light penetrates the darkness to reveal what exists before you.  Using your light you can travel in the direction you need to in order to reach the surface or descend deeper.  How you get to choose which way you go but without your light you are lost and can find neither easily.  We then thought about Psalm 119:105 and how God's Word is a light to our feet and a lamp to our path and what that means for us as individuals and as brothers in a journey together.  The boys brought up and discussed ways that the Bible and the Holy Spirit are available to us as lamps in our lives.
Locally made later from one level of cave down to the next

From the caves we journey to the crater rim to set camp before the rains that threatened arrived.
Duncan and Jacob eating some dust

We pulled up to our camping area and decided things looked just about perfect
Great work setting camp

Being the great host that he is Jeremiah helped us call in some dinner.  Don't think the boys expected it to arrive quite so fresh. 
"Are you serious?"
The goat was tremendous plus some sukuma wiki and potatoes
After dinner we had more time to bond, reflect and relax.  Duncan and I marveled at the beauty of creation and what a gift it was to enjoy this together.

The next morning we broke camp early with the clouds holding on in the valley, made coffee and breakfast then made a trek to the upper rim.  Again marveling at the beauty.  You just can't help but wonder at what the jurassic nature of this land was like.

I am so enjoying this frame of life with my boy.

As a bonus on the way back off the mountain we had the opportunity to investigate the local water
collection methods.  As mentioned earlier the area is covered in naturally occurring steam vents.  The area is incredibly arid and the Massai have devised ways to harvest this water in the form of steam.  They run pipes down the vents and then seal off around the base.  As the steam travels past the elbow and out the ends it cools and condensates.  The condensate is then channeled off to storage tanks for use in drinking and for watering livestock.  The water is highly mineralized and so not the greatest tasting but this is a great use of a ready resource.

As always I have to reflect on how incredibly blessed I and we are to be allowed to serve here.