I loved growing up in the mountains. These great mounds provided so many folds to explore and so much gravity to power those adrenalin-sprouting descents. But as I wandered around Tom Gateau last week, I saw in the dim pre-dawn parades of women, children, men and donkeys laden with produce and goods, walking great distances to buses and trucks which carried these tools of their sustenance to markets in central villages as well as on to the larger cities. I did not see an ounce of disdain in their faces as they powered up, down and around these steep slopes. Rather, I saw focus and dedication. These people make their living tending to crops that somehow cling to the fertile but naked hill sides. With few flat pieces of land to be found, they also build their homes on these hills, hoping that the foundation will not be undermined by the incessant mountain rain. The community soccer pitch is so sloped that the one team has a tremendous advantage in the effort required to advance, but both teams struggle to stay upright because of the cross slope.

When I get back home to Golden, I will regard those hills in a different light.

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