Near Ngare Sero, a Maasai village nestled against the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania, I opted to climb Ol Doinyo Lengai, “The Mountain of God…”
1:44 AM: We are hours into our quiet, grueling hike to the summit.
The Milky Way Galaxy provides the night’s only light.
Abraham (my Maasai guide) and I are reclining on the rock face, our flashlights turned off.
We are unusually, he says, the only climbers on the volcano tonight.
We lay with our heads pointed to the sky, surveying the bright stars.
“I’m the Toughest” plays aloud from his cell phone. Peter Tosh’s warm Rastafarian voice rattles hopelessly against the night’s impenetrable silence.
“What do you study?” Abraham asks.
“Philosophy,” I respond, exhaling with my focus still above me.
A brief, still moment passes.
“Me too,” he decides, and turns his head back up to the heavens.
Daniel Parks is a senior at Columbia University, studying Philosophy and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. He is an avid writer and loves to travel. Currently, he is the Director of Development for Education Outreach West Africa, a non-profit he co-founded to help underprivileged children in Francophone West Africa. He is set to attend Columbia Law School in 20121.
This article was featured in Matter Thoughts Issue 1 – Horizons