Saturday, January 12, 2013 (Day 3)
It is a weary-eyed breakfast at seven filling up on carbs before we pile into the back of a truck - five of us inside and seven clinging on in the back outside - and drive out to the base of the mountain, picking up baguettes, Laughing Cow cheese, ground nut, boiled eggs and a couple dozen packets of water at a village we pass on the way. The petrol station there is still out of fuel.
We play with a bunch of local kids by the hiking entrance, who provide a fantastic photo opportunity and the chance to try out a bit of Krio for the first time?
"Aw di bodi?"
"Di bodi fine."
The hike is relatively comfortable with the track easily passable and only strenuous in the later stages where the terrain is steep and rocky. Fortunately, we have set off early enough to avoid the worst of the heat and, with altitude, the temperature drops a further degree or two. Birds are the main form of wildlife we spot; a dozen or more different species. We reach the peak in two hours twenty going up, smashing the previous record for new volunteer groups. To be fair though, this is arguably the easiest time of the year to make the hike with no rain or scorching temperatures. We all pose for a team photo at the peak, which boasts a 360-degree panoramic view of the peninsula, including John Obey down by the coast. Then we each perch ourselves on Picket Hill's black volcanic rocks and stuff boiled eggs and Laughing Cow cheese triangles inside big white baguettes, guzzle water from pocket-sized bags and soak in a few of the sun's rays, which helps dry the sweat on everybody's T-shirts. Hundreds of swifts swoop and soar above us from their vantage point above the peninsula's highest point.
As is usually the case, the hike back is far more difficult and far less enjoyable. The old knees are in agony and from time to time I find myself tripping on a vine or stumbling over a hidden tree stump or rock. Di bodi doesn't feel quite so fine now. We take a different route for the final part of the hike, which necessitates us crossing a river before we can finally make it to the road for our lift home. It has taken nearly three and a half hours for the return leg.
Back at Tribe Wanted it is Saturday night which means beer and palm wine by the beach fire. It is the dark of the moon tonight and the sky seems to overspill with stars. Di bodi now feel fine once again.
More Than a Game joined The Collective and the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone for a seven-week voluntary placement in January 2013.