Conquering the Mountain

Never have I ever been so scared and been laughing so hard all at the same time.

Last April, during Fairfax County School’s spring break, I went with a group  of 30 high schoolers and leaders to El Salvador. It was an awesome trip, but was filled with unexpected events every day, just due to the nature of the country and what we were doing. We stayed in a small village called El Higueral, way up in the mountains. The only way to get up to the village after a certain point was to take trucks with major 4 wheel drive, or walk. The terrian was so slippery because of the dry weather. It was dusty and steep and very, very winding to get to the top.

Well, trucks around those parts (and everywhere, really), don’t hold 30 people. So, we piled into two trucks, similar to this:

This made kids on the trip go wild. They loved it. No seatbelts, standing up, in the dark, scared for their lives. What’s not to love? It was a total adventure.

Well, one day we took the trucks down to the river and to go shopping in the village. Kind of a free afternoon to relax since we’d been doing building work all week around the village. We ended up staying at the market much longer than we thought we would, so by the time we were heading back home, it was getting dark. We made it to the “base” of the mountain and started heading up the massive hills to get back home. Here we were, 35+ people divided into two trucks, in the dark, going up the mountain.

All of the sudden, the truck started making noises. It couldn’t get up the hill with so much weight on the back. Lots of kids had to get out of the back of the truck and help push it up the hill for several feet. Then, suddenly, we were told that most of the kids in the front truck needed to get out and walk up the hill- the truck just couldn’t take the weight. You would think they would be freaking out about this, but the kids were pumped. It was a challenge for them. Many of them decided to RUN up the hill. Just a nice evening jog up a crazy high mountain in El Salvador. No big deal. So, they start running. The rest of us are in the truck behind them, standing up in the truck bed, the lights from our truck shining on them so they didn’t get lost/fall/etc.

Abruptly, our truck stopped. It needed to be checked out. We stopped. The crazy kids kept running. 15 mins later, the truck starts again, and we are on our way, winding quickly around the hills, trying to catch up with the runners. We came to a crest in the mountain. Picture this- pitch black darkness minus the dim headlights on the truck, flying over the mountain standing up in the back of a truck, coming to the top of a crest roller coaster style. We come to the top, and start going down- fast. All of the sudden, I see kids running in front of us. I see a kid named Will running- running his little heart out, and a bull chasing him. A BULL. A BUCKING BULL.

I’m on the truck, unable to move, unable to do anything… but laugh. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants. Then I screamed. We were all screaming, and laughing, and screaming again. It was all in slow motion. Watching Will and the bull fight to the finish. Thankfully, after what seemed like years, the bull decided to veer off into the woods. Will lived. THANK THE GOOD LORD. He lived.

To this day, that is one of the scariest and funniest experiences of my life. It could never be recreated. Will has an awesome story to take to his grave.



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