Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Leopard time on Mount Mumpalumpu

Ok, so it’s actually Mount Mumpu but Mumpalumpu sounds better, no? Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the group of teenagers that husband and I are taking to Zambia in July. Under normal circumstances I would be having a bit of a DRAMA (capitals for severity) about this but as I am the RESPONSIBLE ADULT I figure I have to just ‘Keep Calm and Climb Mount Mumpalumpu’.

This year has been so busy (and consumed with the whole – ‘am I really going to be a Vicar?!’ thing…) that I haven’t really thought about the trip that much. The normal division of labour in our household is that I plan/stress/get stuff organised and Ben relaxes/tells me to calm down/is usually right. As he is the teacher of said teenagers all the planning has landed to him so it is all very odd indeed. He has a ’brilliant’ (depending on my mood!) way of announcing the most terrifying pieces of information in a completely laise-faire tone.

‘Yeah, so on the last day we are going to be left alone in a Game Reserve half a kilometre away from each other so we can enjoy being along in Africa.’


‘There isn’t anything that dangerous up Mount Mumpalumpu. Oh, except Leopards.’


Besides terrifying solo stints with large herbivores and potential savaging by leopards the trip sounds AMAZING. We will be staying in a Zambia Village, making visits to people’s homes where we will do DIY (poor unfortunate Zambians!), we will help out in a local school, do some kind of rope course (ha, as if!) and generally have a very exciting time.
The upside of being a RESPONSIBLE ADULT is that you have to remain calm about the situation and I’m finding that this is helping me to be calm about the trip generally. Normally I’d be thinking through every possible eventuality (e.g. snake attack while having impromptu wee break in scrub land – a genuine concern…) but because I’m having to calm other’s nerves (snakes? No, don’t worry about those *quietly gulps*) I find I’m automatically calming my own.

This is all very interesting and makes me wonder about how I can reduce my general level of fretting which nearly always is entirely pointless (things will work out or won’t and there’s generally not much you can do about it).  There are a few things that have come to mind about that this week. Firstly the great benefits of simply being thankful. A couple of people who I follow on Twitter and whose blogs I read are doing the ‘Below the Line’ challenge this week. This involves spending £1 per head on food for five days to raise money for the 1.4 billion people who survive this way every day.  In Zambia 64% of people live below the poverty line. Sobering and puts things starkly into perspective.

And secondly recording these thankful-making moments. I intend to do a lot of that in Zambia. It’s quite remarkable to be approaching a life altering trip like this one and to have not been worrying it into life for several months! Sometimes I think I spend so much time worrying I miss what is actually happening now, and a lot is happening. I think this is summed up beautifully in this picture from the Tracks of Foxes blog.

So thankfully documenting – that’s me!

Stop Press - I take it all back!!! I have just looked on Google and the Mount Mumpu trek involved going through an 'infested bat cave'!!! *collapses into weeping heap*


  1. True and challenging stuff - I'm a leader on a trip to Peru this summer and I'm such an anxious traveller, especially flying. Hard to get the balance between letting them know you're normal and scared to...and just being a useless nervous wreck!

    1. Indeed. No one wants a leader behaving like an automaton but a nervous wreck prob wouldn't do either. I think it's quite instinctive (so I've found before) that when you are responsible for people you just rise to the challenge. Good luck in Peru! x

  2. Calm down, Nicola. :-) You'll do it (even the bats!) and it will be marvellous and life-changing and I envy you the experience.

    1. Ha ha! You're right, it will be a great experience and I'll just have to duck in the bat cave!!!