Ajora falls are twin waterfalls that are not too far from where I live. The hospital was quiet and a group of people were headed to see them, so I figured I would go and see a different kind of twins. The falls form the beginning of the Omo River. If you read much about Ethiopian tribes, the famous tribes are all south in the Omo River Valley.
The drive there was half on a paved road and half on dirt roads, that are now mud soup in places. We got to the falls and the view was just breath taking. The higher falls plummets down 500 meters and the lower falls plummets 400 meters. There was a constant rainbow from the mist of the chocolate milk falls. We hiked about 20 or 30 minutes and just admired God’s creation. We saw some fresh springs coming out of the mountain, a cave and a
pole for the center of a home. Near the springs we came across some goats that were munching on the leaves of trees. We had to stop because these were not just any normal trees. The jutted straight out and below them was the gorge, but these goats acted like they were in a pasture. They were just munching away. I was entranced by how graceful they are.
We were told there was a third falls, another five to ten minutes down the trail, so we decided to go see the third waterfall. The trail up to this point was usually at least 5 feet wide, but the new trail was a whole new ball game. At
one point the trail was absent. As we were going along, I stepped on an area of the trail that was just as wide as my foot. As I stepped into it, the trail disappeared beneath me. I fell about seven feet down and landed on my head and shoulder. As I was tumbling down the mountain side, I only had a few thoughts. First, I thought, “Really!?! This is how I am going to die? Who would have ever thought?” I think I even smiled. I was simultaneously trying to grab anything and everything around me. The grass and shrubs were just slipping out of my hands or breaking. I kept waiting for the free fall. Then, I wondered if I would be able to enjoy the free fall, like I was flying.
I didn’t make a peep while I was falling and I felt completely a peace. For those of you that know me you don’t find me silent very often! My life did not flash before my eyes. I never felt anything, like an angel or hand, stop me. I finally, was able to grasp something. I held on to it as I tumbled over it, I fully expected it to be the ledge and wondered how long whatever I was holding would be able to support me. Then, I felt the ground under my feet and I had stopped. I yelled up, “I am fine” and just stayed there until some people got down to me. I had stopped just above a bunch of rocks and maybe 5 feet from another trail. Beyond the trail was the cliff. Next stop, at least 400 meters to the Omo River.
An Ethiopian friend, Hasabu, had come as our tour guide and literally dove off the edge of the trail after me. His thumb took the brunt of his dive, and is swollen and sprained, but luckily not broken. A visiting physician, Neil,
found a safer way down to me. They were both to me in no time at all. Neil said when he arrived I was holding a clump of grass and my knuckles were white. We did a quick inventory and everything on me worked. I had some scratches on my hips, stomach, back and right arm. Nothing else.
Funniest comment on the way to the car: “Not to be selfish, but I am so glad nothing major happened because I am not sure I could handle that kind of trauma in my life right now.” I was exhausted by the time we got back. It is amazing how tired you can become after a big adrenaline rush.
After processing this for ONE ENTIRE day, I don’t have anything really profound to say. Last month I was told I was as charming as a turtle. I have now confirmed that I am NOT as graceful as a goat. I have thought about what I would want my last words to be if I had fallen off the cliff. I would have had 11-12 seconds to say what I want. The more I think about it, the more I think I would say “Woo-Hoo!” and give one of my laughs. This is a laugh that all the ladies in my family share… aunts, cousins, sister, grandmothers… You can hear us laugh from miles away. I think this would say more than any words I could spit out.
I am glad that I was at peace with dying. I have questioned if the lack of fear was arrogance or faith. I wish I could easily state it was faith, but it may be a combination of the two. I am not deserving of God’s love and grace, but He has chosen to give it. I am so grateful to serve such a loving God.