Thursday, August 28, 2008

The canopy Walk at Kakum National Park

On the same day that we visited the Elmina Castle we also went to the Kakum National Park. Kakum is home to the only canopy walkway on the African Continent. The 350 meter long bridge 100 ft above the ground connects seven tree tops; it is constructed of wire rope, aluminium ladders, wooden planks and safety netting. In order to protect the trees, no nails or bolts pierce the bark. You don't even have to climb to get onto the walkway. It starts at ground level, and as you walk along, the land below you slopes into a valley, and you find yourself twelve stories up in the forest canopy. The horseshoe-like pattern of bridges are connected by tree platforms that serve as observation points for viewing the rainforest. You circle back to complete your tour on level ground.
As we got started our walk, I noticed that almost all of us were overwhelmed with fear. Each of us gained courage from one another. “The slight swaying is intimidating, but it's an incredible sensation to walk along it. The experience is pure adrenaline, and is definitely not for people with a fear of heights”
The famous Christian song, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus… No turning back no turning back....’ really depicted the tremendous journey of no return along the canopy walk. As long as one has made a choice to start the walk, there is no possibility of turning back!
My personal experience as everyone struggled to walk along the canopy was that the Community played a very vital role. For it generated the zeal and energy we needed to get rid of our fear and this enabled us to walk the whole length of the ropeway. All my attention was on the brother in front of me. I did not even venture a look down at the wonderful expanse of rain forest below me. I had mixed feelings as I began the walk: I was worried, afraid, anxious and tense. After the walk, I felt relieved thanks to the empowerment I got from the community.
I was left asking the question, How conscious am I about my Brothers and sisters in the Community? A tree cannot stand on its own without the branches, just like in the Community, an individual cannot achieve what he/she wants without the help of the others. Indeed, from my experience on the canopy walk, I realized how interconnected I was with my fellow Brothers and Sisters. It taught me anew what it means to live as a community.

Otieno Fredrick

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