As Chelsi pulled her shirt off over her head a gentle drizzle began to fall from the grey cloud cover. Carefully, she draped her shirt over the back of the bench next to her skirt. Though the air was warm, goose bumps began to rise over her skin as her exposure to the rain rapidly cooled its surface. She was surrounded by lush green trees, her eyes drawn to the first white, pink, red and purple flower buds of rainy season.
Stretched out in front of her was a large, clear, shallow spring. Shimmying out of her shoes Chelsi stepped closer to it. Warm steam rose off the water, creating a thin mist in the air. She stepped into the water. Smooth stones messaged the soles of her feet as she waded farther into the spring.
“So, what do you think?” Chelsi’s friend Laura asked as she approached.
Chelsi laughed, “I think it was worth every bit of stress that was the result of yesterday’s transporting.” Having waded to the center of the pool, she eased the length of her body into the warm water. “Even with the rain, I’m glad we came.”
“I think the rain makes it better. Think, if it was a bright, sunny day the water wouldn’t feel so inviting.”
“True.” Chelsi used her arms to glide around the pool while floating on her back. “I’m glad we’ve travelling in ‘off season’ too. Could you image what this would be like if that campsite was full? And the rooms and chalets?!”
When they had arrived the previous evening the manager of the lodge invited them to pitch their tents anywhere and opened his arms over an expansive campsite with nearly two dozen fire pits, wood stoves and chinzanza no more than 15 feet away from each other in any given space. “Yeah, we got lucky that there’s only those two other couples here. Or lucky in the sense that this turned out to be the best time to travel. And this really is a beautiful lodge.”
“Easily one of the nicest places I’ve been in Zambia,” Chelsi admitted. “I am, but also not, surprised that more volunteers don’t come here.”
“Mostly the ones I know that come are a part of couples. They probably find it worth it, but most volunteers don’t want to have to pay for that transfer from the tarmac.”
“It’s nice that they offer it though, and split between you, me, Ben and Felicia, it wasn’t that expensive. Not to mention, that drive was beautiful as well!”
At the sound of their names, their two remaining friends appeared through the trees. “Come on in you two!” Laura called to them. From the edge of the water Chelsi and Laura splashed their friends with the warm spring water.
“We’re coming, we’re coming!” Felicia giggled. With that a streak of lighting split the sky and the rain fell harder. But with laughing with her friends in the warmth of the pool Chelsi smiled to herself, I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried.