Renewed at the Waterfalls of Obosomase
Church masses often evoke a sense of sombreness, giving congregants the space to reflect, while drawing them closer to each other via the shared experience of the divine. Our recent Church of Climate Change mass was less sombre – but our goals were similar. We hiked, washed off the dirt and heat in unbelievably cool pools of a waterfall and ate delicious vegetarian food. In marking our second mass, we spent an adventurous time at the Obosomase waterfalls.
The sun was already in full glare by the time we’d reached Obosomase town and despite the heat, we were full of anticipation for the day ahead. We went down a steep path to visit the home of Nana Kwasi, our dreadlocked guide for the day. He was accompanied by Nana Nketia, a 70-year old vegetarian and holistic health practitioner, who shared (preached!) a lot about health, being keepers for each other and how what we eat is closely linked to our spirituality.
Our first taste of adventure was at a creek not far from Nana Kwasi’s home. The water was very cool and, even better, drinkable! A good prep for the hike ahead of us. To get to the waterfall fountain, we walked down a continuously downward-sloping path. As cool as the creek close to Nana Kwasi’s home, the water was just what we needed to cool off from walking in the sun. While some members of the church immersed themselves in the water, others braved the slippery rocks to climb as far as they could up the fountain. We then went down a winding flight of stairs, which had been chiselled into the rock to serve as a pathway to the waterfall.
Over grilled mushrooms, soy kebabs and veggie jollof, Nana Nketia engrossed us in a conversation on our relationship with nature. He pushed us to get to know ourselves in a way that allows us to be in tune with nature, using sustainability as a spiritual practice as opposed to seeing it as a set of daily lifestyle choices.
His underlying principle of sustainability as spiritual practice is this: when you're one with nature, you will be conscious and careful with our environment. Your care will improve your own well-being and so, the environment must be treated with utmost importance. After all, you and nature will be equally deserving of care. The conversation challenged us to think more about LIBTYFI (Leave It Better Than You Found It) efforts and how to practice it in a way that is more useful to each context, meaningful, serving others around us. We realized that LIBTYFI-ing in the city, with our cleanups, could be different from LIBTYFI-ing outside where we could prioritize water sources and maintaining plantlife.
Two weeks after our visit, Nana Kwasi shared his ideas for a cleanup project with youth in his town. He suggested the Church of Climate Change can support the waterfalls in the longer term by putting up signs and bins along the hiking route, asking visitors to be careful with their waste and telling them about the plants on the route.
What perhaps we didn’t realize in the moment was that the hiking to the falls was an exercise in practicing spirituality. Our mass was reflection and getting in tune with ourselves, which, according to Nana Nketia, is the first step to sustaining a healthier lifestyle, but also to mitigating the effects of climate change. So go for a walk, hike, find the (hidden) gems outside. Join our church if you want to, and help us Leave It Better Than You Found It. Reach out to us with your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the CCC here.