We have successfully returned from our wilderness adventure. I think I can speak for the group when I say that this trip was way bigger than we could have expected it to be. There was laughter, tears, song, and dance. Friendships were made and personal limits were definitely pushed. The scenery was more than I could have asked for and made my soul feel full.
We began our journey with a drive up to the mountains from Cape Town. This took about 3 hours. We had lunch along the way and stopped a few times for snacks and bathroom breaks. It was mid- afternoon when we finally made it to base camp.
We packed up our bags, split into groups of ~12 and headed off into the wilderness. The grouls were made up of six DU students and six South African social workers. Each day a few people were delegated as leaders. They were briefed on how to delegate tasks and lead our group on hikes. The leaders on the first day chose a camp that ended up having no water…so we moved on to another.
When we reached our new home the sun was almost gone. We scrambled to make dinner in the dark on our small gas stoves. Who knew chopping veggies in the dark could be so tough? Once dinner was made we ate and then made our “beds” with tarps and sleeping bags. We were so blessed to be able to sleep under the African sky.
Sunday morning we were up early with the sun. Breakfast was oatmeal and a banana. I became a leader that day and, by looking at the map, helped lead the group to a small peak that we would be climbing. We saw a puff adder along the way. This reminding me that I am out of my zone and into the zone of the wildlife.
When we reached the peak we began to climb and were surprised when we reached the top. The Educo staff had already come and set up rock climbing equipment. I was immediately anxious. Growing up, I was an overweight girl. Physical activities were never something I enjoyed as they were harder for me and, often times, embarrassing. However, I pushed myself and climbed up those rocks to the top. Hitting the point at the top felt really good. I was so proud of myself for pushing through and climbing up there.
We then headed out for a shady spot to have lunch. The African sun is very hot and unforgiving. We navigated to a place to eat and replenish our strength.
Monday morning we wrapped up at our campsite and headed back to our previous lunch spot for shade again. The sun was very hot very early today. Now it was time to head back to base camp. Carrying our big packs in the sun was so hard and endurance was a common theme of the day. But, with great team leaders, we made it back.
Back at base camp, it was wonderful to see the rest of the group and to take a nice shower. Dinner was prepared for us. We were treated to a South African braai. Yum. After we sang and danced around the fire as a big group. So much laughter and fun that night.
This trip overall was a great experience. Being outside, in the mountains, was soothing all on its own. The mountains in South Africa are very different from the mountains in Colorado, but they are oh so beautiful. Sleeping under the African sky was incredible. The stars were so bright and seemed so close. The moon provided us with some light each night as it showed off its beauty. What a beautiful place.
I grew a lot this trip. I met new people and made many connections. I spent a lot of time looking inward at myself and reflecting on my personal circle of courage. I connected with nature and got to sleep under the stars. I learned from South African social workers and got a perspective on what their careers look like in Cape Town. Many personal stories were shared and it was beautiful to hear from others and what their lives have been like. EducoAfrica does so much good for so many people. I am blessed to have had this experience in the wilderness with my classmates and new colleagues/friends.
Back to Cape Town we go. 🙂