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Black don’t camp

From my widely researched statistical study of 3 black people and camping, I made this statement to my research participants and they nodded their heads vigorously in agreement. Well, if you disagree, you can close this blog now. Serious. Go ahead and read something else. Haha…I’m only joking, come back and hear me out.

At the start of last month, I went with my church’s youth group to camp for 5 nights under the open heavens in Staffordshire as part of the final Soul Survivor youth camp series. I’ll leave out the spiritual side of things for now – the worship, praise, messages, prayers, etc. All of those were amazing. And if truth be told, the only things that kept me going. Plus the nightly hot chocolate mountain! Thanks Cafe Uno.

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However, I feel a great sense of duty and heavy burden of responsibility to inform you of the ‘dangers’ of camping especially if like me, you don’t tan, you just get darker!

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I don’t look forward to not sleeping in my bed for one night talk more of for 5 nights. So I was rather grumpy at the start to say the least. I was wondering what made me agree to this expedition.

It reminds me of that one time I went to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I saw the S to W to Z shaped queue of people waiting to take the lift at the left of the tower. Braver souls stood in the single lettered queue to the right to take the stairs. Yours truly saw the notice that it was just two flights of stairs. And I thought to myself, I wonder why people are wasting their time in the multi-lettered shaped, more expensive queue for a lift for just 2 flights of stairs!

Well, I learnt the hard way. Not because the notice was written in French and I had and still have nearly zero knowledge of the language, but because exploring on your own can sometimes make you blind to the obvious. I paid the cheaper stairs fee and started my upward ascent like the angels in Jacob’s dream. Only for my brain to finally kick in that their definition of flight of stairs has departed from this world to another. One flight was equal to 22 flights of normal stairs. I couldn’t turn back and kept stepping up to the plate. But I digress.

My brain was obviously refusing to engage with the ramifications of outdoor camping till the last few days leading to our departure where I was genuinely thinking of ways to get myself out. But I knew deep within my spirit that I couldn’t do that. Not to the kids. Not to myself. Not to God.

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I bought me a double air bed as I need space to roll and turn without tumbling out to the cold grass. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable mercies of being loaned a 4-man tent, with me as the sole occupier. It was a mini studio, a literal ground floor apartment on the grass. I kept my camp chair inside to serve as a clothes stand, makeup table, kitchen table, etc. I had a thick blanket, duvet, bedsheet. I slept in two t-shirts, a hoodie, socks and I was still freezing!! How the kids managed to stay up late past midnight was and still is above my pay grade!!

I was born under the sun in tropical Africa! Ain’t about this cold life. It was so cold that I was woken up a few times by the desperate need to pee. Thinking I’d slept for a few hours, only to realise it’s just been 30 minutes!! No wonder God gave the Israelites the pillar of fire by night in the wilderness. As much as I’ve always believed it was for light, now I think it was for warmth also!

My body ached so much like I had had back to back sessions of gym classes, I thought I’d been exercising in my sleep! It took a while to recover. On the drive home, let’s just say the red car to my right gave me space to change lanes only that I unconsciously made that change decision. Thankfully, it was slow moving traffic and bumblebee, I and my passengers were spared!

So let me say it again, black don’t camp. Especially the ones born in Africa. I could probably count on one hand how many black adults I saw in those 5 days.

To your trying new things, . . .

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