The falls the falls

People have been talking about Kpatawee since I got here. Eyes glaze over in a look of pure joy and heads shake in wonder. That show of enthusiasm is followed, most often, by a promise to organize a trip to take me. A promise broken more times than I care to count.

But this past weekend Leo and Sulaman came through. And so in the early afternoon I heard a honk of a horn outside my door and jumped into a vehicle, stupidly excited and unsure of what I should expect.

After we drove, seemingly aimlessly, back and forth through Phebe and Cuttington, we finally embarked on the jostling ride through Platotown (the village behind Cuttington) and beyond. After a while, the thick greenery yielded and a rolling expanse of Savannah emerged. That clearing is the turn-off for the falls.

We parked our caravan under a massive cotton tree and I headed toward the sound of water. And there, in the midst of trees and vines, was Kpatawee – the pride of Bong County.

People had warned me, “it ain’t Victoria Falls!”. Lucky for me, my concept of beauty isn’t limited to grandeur. And so I was pleasantly surprised by the lull of water splashing against rocks, the white froth contrasted against brown and gray stones, the spidery tracks of water plants long dried and carried away by the waning water the dry season heralds.

I was smitten.

Add to the beauty, Sulaman and his crew know how to throw a party. And so we didn’t arrive with the idea of simply enjoying nature, we arrived with two coolers full of drinks (including homemade eggnog), a coal pot ready to be fired up for food, and a stereo – complete with generator, amp, and speakers.

And so the music blared in the background as I scaled the waterfall, making my way- finally – to the top. Only falling once, staining my tan shorts where my bum slid across algae and decomposing leaves.

I drank Savannahs – a South African cider that I never drank there but that Sulaman, ever the host, continued to open and place in my hand. I danced. I made friends with some local musicians and took photos with them because we shared the “same” hair. I ate.

Mostly I smiled. Talked to people. Laughed.

It was so good to laugh.

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