Yesterday after a bit of a bumpy drive, we arrived at Ramabanta. The view from our back yard is filled with breathtaking mountains and water falls. After getting situated and having lunch, half of us had the opportunity to go pony trecking through the mountains and to see cave paintings that dated back two thousand and five hundred years.
For some, or one, Meghan White, this was the first experience being on a horse. Boy, what an experience it was! We all got to name our horses, such as Snow White, Cachita, Struggle Bus, World’s Greatest, Brown Beauty, Honey, and Isabelle. As we all sat on our horses waiting for the adventure to begin, it was apparent none of us had any idea what the day had in store.
We headed up the street to begin our way onto what seemed like the rockiest, skinniest, and most winding trail. There may have been a language barrier between man and beast that became rather obvious approximately ten minutes into the treck. Sweetly pleading with your horse to move forward had absolutely no effect other than making the local Basotho laugh at our attempts. After miraculously ending up in one place, we dismounted our houses and started a down hill hike to the cave which proved rather difficult. Travis did a tumble and roll not just once, but twice. No worries parents, he was okay! The situation was funny enough to draw tears from Jessica D’s eyes. Erin R and Meghan W, holding onto each other for what seemed like dear life, slid down the mere 6 inch decline, screaming the whole way. Again, we somehow gathered into one group and were able to admire the ancient cave paintings and take a quick breather. This was the calm before the storm, literally.
We climbed back up and remounted our horses. We admired an abrewing storm that seemed to be a safe distance away. Being halfway around a mountain didn’t register as a problem. We noticed that the leaders encouraged the horses to break away from the steady pace we had previously been going, and instead move towards something that could more or less be described as a brisk gallop. The wind picked up, and even those with glasses were not protected from the dirt blowing sideways. The sky darkened, the thunder rumbled, the lightning brightened, and rain began to fall. Still, we were far away.
Parents, do not be concerned! You may have a threatening image in your mind, but add to this image your children screaming with excitement. We all were laughing and encouraging our horses to gallop on with the call we learned, “Ay Ay Ay!” (imagine a rain dance call). The rain picked up as we got closer home. Finally, as we reached the home stretch, someone up ahead screamed, “HAIL!!!!!” We can only imagine what a bystander might have thought, watching these crazy college students on horses in the middle of a storm screaming with excitement and loving life, all while trying to protect their cameras at the same time.
“God bless the rains down in Africa” was no longer just the lyric from the catchy song, Africa. It was now a first hand experience we will never forget. Once more, we added to our list of stories that would end with, “Only in Lesotho.”
-Jessica D, Erin R, Meghan W