We made our decision based on several factors, chief among them that the elections in Mozambique were last Wednesday and thus far everything has gone relatively well with both the election day and the immediate aftermath. Much of the violence that was peaking at the time of our intended departure near the end of October appears to be slowing and settling. There are also talks of a meeting between the leader of Renamo (the opposition party who declared an end to the peace accord signed in 1992) and the current government. I'm continuing to monitor the situation closely by speaking daily with multiple people and organizations on the ground in Mozambique. There is extensive local and international hope and pressure for things to settle down and to keep Mozambique and its people on the path toward peaceful prosperity.
The Liminal Line
liminal: of, or relating to, the state in-between
It’s November 6th. I should be travelling overland from Malawi to Mozambique. I should be squished in a long base truck with my team alongside duffels of climbing gear, insect specimen nets, and enough food for fourteen people for twenty-one days. I should have my face pressed against the window with my eyes open wide saying oooh! See that? and pointing out beautiful granite dome after beautiful granite dome to my climbing partner Kate while she does the same from the other side of the truck.
We are not en route from Malawi to Mozambique today. We aren’t because at 7 AM on Sunday October 27th we awoke to news of another incidence of violence in central Mozambique. The day before, a civilian convoy of three vehicles was attacked and one person was killed. It was horrible news for families of the person killed and those injured, for the people in the Sofala region, and for the country of Mozambique. Tensions had been escalating in Mozambique in the week leading up to our scheduled departure and we'd been monitoring the situation extremely close. Following the news on Sunday morning, and in light of the rising unrest and expectations of continued escalation heading into the upcoming elections on November 20th, we made the very difficult decision to postpone the project until May/June 2014.
Going Camping: AKA, Climbing a Granite Big Wall, Discovering New Species for Science, and Starting a New Conservation Area.
In seven days I will fly across the Atlantic, over the Sahara, toward Mozambique, and to the Lost Mountain. It has taken three years to get here—ie to be about to go there.
Right now I am supposed to tell you I am ready and that I know what I am doing. I’m neither.
Projects that matter take self-trickery to make happen. I never asked myself if it was really possible or a good idea to splice together climbing and science and conservation and Malawi and Mozambique and 14 individuals all trying to achieve a collective goal. I just set about doing it. Now it is happening. Which means now is when the panic of the reality sets in. Put another way, we’ve already climbed the high dive ladder, stood on the edge, and jumped off. Now—when there is no way to go backwards—is therefor the first time when I am finally allowing myself to look at the giant body of water which I’m heading for at full speed. It’s just the way I like to do it.
Before pressing launch on our Lost Mountain Kickstarter on July 30th, I thought Kickstarter was a thing-- a means to an end. One month later, I know it is more-- it's a community nexus and a place for passion and belief. Kickstarter also brought home just how much the Lost Mountain means to me by showing me how much it meant to others. Thank you all for supporting this project by learning about it, sharing it, backing it and more. Our Kickstarter was an amazing success because of you. We head to Malawi and Mozambique October 28th to climb a 2,000' granite big wall, discover species new to science, and start a new integrated conservation area on Mozambique's second highest mountain. You can follow along here.
Three years ago I saw a photo of a rock face in Mozambique. It became an astonishing force in my life. 36 months, a 3-week reconnaissance trip, and one very special frog later I'm heading to that rock face with an eight-person team of scientists, conservationists, and climbers in October.
We're finding species new to science, we're starting a new conservation area in one of the world's most precious biodiversity hotspots, and we're trying not to get bitten by some of the most poisonous snakes in the world. And most of that is while we're on a 2,000' granite rock face on the 2nd highest mountain in Mozambique. Today I'm asking you to join me: http://kck.st/15t2iKx