Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Mexico: Part 4 (A Mountain Top Experience)
Tuesday was the hottest day in Ahutitla. According to Arturo it was 110 Fahrenheit. I'm just glad we weren't doing manual labor in the heat. To tell you the truth I had no idea it was THAT hot. Later in the day, just after dinner, we planned to climb a tall peak just outside the city. We all pilled into an old multicolored fifteen passenger van. This thing was not something you'd see in the US, it had 70's style wood paneling on the walls and ceiling, not for looks, but to cover up the fact that the old walls and ceiling no longer existed. The stereo actually sounded great, they had spliced in a small sub woofer and some pretty nice front speakers. Our hosts had told us to pile into the van, not 15 of us, but 25! (I think that was the final count). This did not seem strange to them. The first problem was that there were many more people who also wanted to go. They had us get in the van simply to see how many could squeeze in, they'd then figure out other rides for the rest of the folks. They wanted all of the gringo's in one place. I started out mentioning that it was 110 degrees. So we began sweating, profusely, as we sat in this old van. Quinn, sitting right behind me, while laughing about the situation, began hyperventilating. It was sooooooo hot. Finally, after 10 or so minutes, we began driving. I never thought 100 degree air flowing through a van could feel so good.
The driver, who couldn't speak any English, sped intentionally straight toward a house, making a sharp turn at the last moment, nearly tipping the van, just to get a kick out of making all the girls scream. A few seconds later, as we began climbing the base of the mountain, the van stopped, too much weight, too old a van, and too many people. We all got out and began walking. From what I understood it would be a 30 minute walk up the dirt road, and then 10 minutes up a trail. Whoever made those calculations was wrong. About 2 or 3 (I don't remember) hours later we arrived at the tiny peek at the top of this mountain. It had been a hard, at times very steep, climb. The kind of climb where you can easily walk on all fours. Everyone who wanted to made it to the top, it was a great hike.
A large group from the town was already at the top, waiting for us. Some of the other vehicles had made it to the intended drop off point where people got out and did the shorter hike. We learned that this particular spot had become a "sacred place" to the Ahuatitlan Christians. Many of the young people had recently spent 3 days at the peak during a spiritual retreat. They fasted and worshiped together the whole time. While at the top we sang worship songs as we gazed up at the stars. We then shared stories about our lives and how God had transformed our lives. Later we walked a little further to another outcropping where we could see the lights of the villages below. It was pointed out that Ahuatitla was shaped like a guitar, it was.
We had been told that we could sleep on top of the mountain, but it had been decided that we wouldn't do that this particular evening. So, we (the Americans), got ready to leave. Unfortunately the others were not ready. They all expected to stay the night. We were all a bit whinny, my self included, and very tired. With little communication the Ahuatitlan leaders rallied the bummed out youth and we began the decent. It was about 11:30 when we left the mountain. Everyone else begrudgingly came with us. About 1/3 of us had flashlights as we stumbled our way down the mountain. Some of the Mexican had flip flops on, I could would still be up there if I had worn flip flops! Finally, at 2am we collapsed into our beds, exhausted, but thrilled by the adventure we had just been a part of. I won't forget that mountain.