No moon, no stars, only blackness. Freezing, failing headlamps reveal only a couple of meters of terrain around me. The 60kmph wind howls, cutting off speech and chilling us through to the core; it supports my weight when I lean into it, threatens to topple me if I don’t. The bitter cold begins to affect me: My fingers, my nose are frozen and it creeps into my arms, threatening my core. One foot in front of the other, I trudge onward.Only a few days ago it was sunny and hot; beautiful flowers, trees, birds, monkeys. Then, I could talk to my friends, chat about inconsequential topics, learn Swahili, point out the landscape and features to one another. It was nice in the rain forest. Now there is only rock: black, pitted and dusty lava rock from this sleeping volcano. Now I can hear nothing but the howling wind; we do not attempt to speak for the effort required. Only a few words at the occasional rest stop, mumbled breathlessly through cracked and frozen lips. We must keep our rhythm, must keep moving to stay warm. We must keep moving.

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