Just after the new year 3 families from our compound (and several singles) went on a short holiday trip to Yankari Game Reserve, about 4 hours east past Bauchi town. It was delightful! The roads to get there were surprisingly smooth, on the 40 mile drive (!) from the gates to the accommodation we spotted something antelope-like crossing the road. Warthogs (and baboons – least said about them the better) roamed around the chalets we stayed in, and as well as a fun wee safari, we spent lots of time swimming in the Wikki Warm Spring. Nestled in a grove of trees a river emerges from under a large rock wall. The water’s just a touch under body temperature the year round, and so for those of us used to a chilly shock every time we jump into an open air pool, it’s a rather pleasant surprise to jump in and get no shock – whether by day or by night. The blueish-tinged life-giving water steadily flows out from under the rock and is crystal clear, so that it was actually hard to see where the surface of the water was (at night especially). All you could see was the gleaming sand on the bottom.
Intriguingly there is a ‘royal villa’ at the game reserve which has its own private swimming pool for the State governor and his big men. But I for one couldn’t quite see why you would want a chilly and increasingly dirty artificial pool instead of the living, regenerating spring a few hundred metres away.
It reminded me of the prophet Jeremiah’s words to Israel:
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (NIV)Jeremiah 2:13
Why on earth would anyone turn their back on the Living God for all the substitutes of made-up religions and human-focussed ways of life?! Sadly we do that all the time, don’t we? And that’s why we need the prophets to shine a disturbing light on our stupidity.
Maybe if I ever get around to helping people translate Jeremiah we should go on a research field trip to Yankari’s warm spring!
After the delights of the spring Rebekah declared she couldn’t go swimming in any other swimming pool because it would be too cold. (But she has. And she enjoyed it, though no swimming is ever going to be quite as good as Yankari.)
We came back very refreshed (and very clean) at the start of January. Julie enjoyed a bit of peace and quiet at home too, while all us noisy ones were away.