Hmmm…There are intense moments; one can describe it at length, putting down the glorious details on paper in no time. Then, there are those quiet and fleeting moments. The type you want to last, but you know that it won’t and you cherish every sweet second, because you know you might not experience it again or you might, but it won’t be the same. Such moments are insanely rare and priceless, imprinted in the heart and difficult to describe.
To be an EVS volunteer is already special for me. Being part of this amazing project, meeting people from so many different countries, living the “volunteer” life, learning and trying to communicate in Spanglish (Spanish + English), learning and reading about the guanches, greeting in Spanish style, understanding similarities, and appreciating differences, hiking across mountains, enjoying the sunset at the top of a mountain or at the beach, having coffee with friends at a local bar, bus rides to the beach, bonfire, burning past regrets and writing wishes, dancing to latino music at a traditional festival, sharing knowledge and ideas, sharing and laughing about random experiences, getting sun sickness high up on a deserted mountain, reaching the top and feeling like I have conquered the world and so many more little details, has made this experience, so far, truly special.
But there was one particular weekend, a friend and I decided to hike. We started off late so we slept the first night at the bottom of a light house at a beach. With a sleeping bag each, tomatoes, avocado, bread and water, we were ready to conquer the mountains in North Tenerife. On the second day, after, hiking across a couple of mountains, bruised from running in panic to find shade after I started getting sun sickness (we were at the highest point in the mountain where there was no trees and the sun was directly above us), meeting a lot of locals who took the time to give us directions and advice, passing through snoozing villages, quiet streams in the valleys, slipping a couple of times (worst nightmare), sun-beaten, tired (but still enthusiastic), we entered Taborno like conquerors, having fought a good fight, back home to rest. And there, we were, just before entering the village, taking a few minutes to enjoy the breeze, and say “we did it”. But we had run out of food and water. We noticed a chirriquito. Unfortunately, it was closed. We wanted to finish the hike in Taganana, but with no food and water, we decided to take the bus back to La Laguna. Some of the locals had come out on the street to relax and told us that the last bus was at 5 and it was too late.
At this point we decided, there was nothing we could do. Next options; find a spot to sleep, brave the hunger and thirst. Don’t mind the sweat. Sleep off the aching muscles. Rest for the night and tomorrow have a feast in the chirriquito. That was the plan. Until, this man, I guess, in his thirties, told us to go to the school, we will find a key for the classroom, we could use the shower, and sleep. No questions asked. But there was no key. Regardless, there was more than enough space for sleeping bags and there was a water tap in the school area. Grateful for water and a place to sleep, we went out to the lookout. We sat high up in the mountain, looking out towards to the sea, listening to the dying sounds of birds screeching as they make their way back to their nests for the night, watching the rays of sunlight slowly receding across the ocean, the sun bidding a beautiful farewell to the northern hemisphere, and the village below burst into a chorus of lights as the moon finally came out to rule the night. We were at peace. And when we got back, the man came with two cheese sandwich, bananas and juice. And the key.
This, I would say, by far, is not only a special moment, but a beautiful one too. It is so beautiful, I sometimes wish I could go back to that moment, and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction, joy, peace and accomplishment far removed from the feelings I get from my daily routine. I wish I could go back to the moment; the man brought us dinner and juice and gave us shelter. Overwhelmed with gratitude for the kindness shown up on a lonely village mountain is so far the best moment in whole of my EVS experience.