Day 7: Student reflection

From Erikka:

I feel like I have said this every day that we have been here, but today was absolutely amazing. We arrived in Livingstone yesterday and got to see Victoria Falls, but we had more adventurous activities planned for today. Some of the girls wanted to go zip lining across a gorge at the falls- I was thinking about it, but I wasnʼt committed. I am a  cautious person, so I wanted to see what it looked like before I agreed. Around 8:30, a truck from the company came to pick up our whole group. The truck had elevated seats on the bed that made it like a jeep, and that is when the adventure began. It was such a great way to start the day because we got to see the town from a different perspective and the bumpy ride made it even more fun. On the way, we saw many baboons on the side of the road which was a fun surprise! Once we got to the zip lining company, we saw the gorge for the first time- holy heights, Batman. This is when my panic really started to set in. Some girls got more excited, others seemed hesitant. Nonetheless, after the rules were explained, most of the girls got up to sign the waiver and pay the fee. I waited at the end of the line and decided I would sign and pay, but I would still wait and see if it was really something I wanted to do. We walked over to the platform area
where we would be changing into our gear and eventually run off the cliff. I watched as each girl bravely ran and zipped across the gorge, even Dr. Simpson. The company let us have two turns each, but that made me more nervous because I wasnʼt sure if I could even buck up the courage for one turn. Finally, after some words of encouragement from the other girls and Dr. Simpson, I decided to suit up and get ready for my turn.

It came sooner than I had hoped, so I hesitantly walked up to the platform. Before I knew it, I was buckled up and was told to run on the count of three. I could barely process it as he counted down, “3..2..1!” and just like that I took off. As I zipped across, I was overcome with fear but then I slowly started to take in the view around me. As quick as I went across, they were pulling me back for another turn. This is when it dawned on me how lucky I was to have a second turn because this time I was ready to let go of all fear and truly take in the experience. My second time is truly indescribable, but I will do my best. The adrenaline pumping through my body only added to the view from the middle of the gorge. I just dangled there like a little speck in the middle of all the beauty and the only thing I could do was try to soak in every single second.

Flying over the gorge

When they pulled me back to the platform, I could not stop smiling. By the end of morning every student ended up trying it at least once- even the girls who were previously undecided. Iʼd say that was a good choice for them because I think all of us can agree that it was one of the most
incredible experiences in the world.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sibks
    May 26, 2013 @ 15:01:09

    What a great description of your decision to try the zip-line! Sounds like an incredible experience for you and your whole group. From the edges here on the outside of the experience, it still sounds a little terrifying! The photos of you in the air is amazing! Kathy and Steve

    Reply

  2. sibks
    May 26, 2013 @ 15:01:41

    What a great description of your decision to try the zip-line! Sounds like an incredible experience for you and your whole group. From the edges here on the outside of the experience, it still sounds a little terrifying! The photo of you in the air is amazing! Kathy and Steve

    Reply

  3. Erikka Gatta
    May 29, 2013 @ 02:00:45

    Hi Mrs. Sible,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support- they are so appreciated! I also wanted to share with you a message I sent out on Facebook this morning because I thought you might enjoy reading it:

    “went on another morning run today with my professor. a little dog we saw along the way even joined us while we were near his house which made it even more fun. the past week this professor has been getting up earlier than she needs to so that i can run at a pace and distance i am comfortable with, and then right after our run she starts with the group that is more advanced. at the end of our run today we were chatting about marathons she has done, and she mentioned that she has actually ran the Boston Marathon the past few years- including this year. this morning i am thanking God that she made it out safe and that i have gotten to experience this trip with her and all of the other women here. we have a very special group that goes above and beyond to support and look out for each other. i am so proud of us for all of the work we have done so far and all of the personal boundaries we have stepped out of. excited to see what the last few days on the trip will bring.”

    Your daughter has been such an amazing leader on this trip, I am so blessed to be working with her. We have had the most amazing professors to work with here. Thank you all of your kindness, encouragement, and support.

    ~Erikka

    Reply

  4. sibks
    May 31, 2013 @ 01:52:40

    I am so glad this has turned to be such an amazing trip! I am sure Jenn has enjoyed your company on her runs! All the best and safe travels home!

    Reply

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