I awoke to a darkness I wasn’t accustomed to: the sound of the tarp lightly rustling with the breeze and the methodical rhythm of the ocean lapping the rocks a hundred metres away. It took me a second to place where I was, that I wasn’t at home in my nice comfy bed, but rather I was sprawled out on a tree root, using my t-shirt as a makeshift pillow. Light pattering of rain echoed along the worn tarp, threatening to drip on the overhanging feet. I groaned as I registered that I would soon be hiking through the forming puddles of mud, until my thoughts were stopped by the rustling of someone next to me rolling over. It was then that I realized it really didn’t matter what you were doing, but rather who you were experiencing those moments with. With that, I took one more comforting breath and fell back asleep looking forward to take on the trails with my Mini family.
I was a human being once: a brave representative of Matthew McNair’s Mini School. Made of flesh, blood, cleanliness … it all seemed so long ago. Now, there is only mud. Pain, mud, tears, mud, coldness and this strange brown mixture of water and dirt that has woven itself into the very fabric of my existence.
I was a human being once. I had friends and I saw the sun. I felt the warmth of light and human companionship on my skin. Then I watched them all succumb, succumb to the poison created when soil and H2O meet. One by one, as indomitable as the passage of time, I saw everyone and everything I held dear fall to a painful, moist death. Their tortured screams would haunt me if I could still feel.
I was a human being once, but no longer. Now, there is only mud.
As I abominably plummeted into my drenched sleeping bag and muddy clothes, I knew that I wouldn’t be getting a good sleep that night. Squish squash was all you could hear as the torrential downpour fell upon our faces. It was near the end of our seven-kilometre hike that day and we all were euphoric to get to camp and immediately relax. Instead, the complete opposite happened; when we arrived we came to realize that every inch of our campsite was filled with mud puddles and that we would be sleeping in them. When we finished setting up our tarp, it was time to change and feel dry for once. As I opened my backpack, I found a puddle sitting at the bottom of my bag that had soaked through all my clothes. Resisting to put on these clothes, I knew I had no other option than to squeeze them on. I think it was safe to say that, at that time, everyone was miserable and grumpy, but as soon as we had all settled into our comfy puddles, we began to have the best night yet. It made our family bond together as we told stories, made good memories and had laughter consume all of us. Looking back on the trip, I would say that this memory will be the one that I take with me and learn from—that no matter the circumstance, the people around you are the ones who can change your view on the situation.