Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Rock Climbing

Last weekend, I went camping in Waterval Boven, an area that’s a three-hour drive east from Johannesburg.

It was beautiful:


See what I mean?

I took these photos while hiking around the area that my friends were rock climbing.  I’m not a climber, but many of my new friends on Joburg are.

They are an awesome group of people: supportive, encouraging, and patient without being pushy.  My friends brought extra climbing gear for me, but never made me feel pressured to climb.

As I explained to one woman, I was excited to try but also nervous because I injured my foot five months ago and it’s still sore.  I am afraid to strain it even more.

She said, “If you start climbing and it begins to hurt, you can always stop.

I laughed, “But I know my personality and once I start a route, I’m going to finish it.”

She explained to me that climbing shouldn’t be competitive like that.  Instead, it’s about testing your body and stretching your comfort zone.

She told me that she knows she’s had a good climbing day when she has a good fall, because that means she’s pushing herself to try something challenging.

What a great metaphor for life!

Our conversation made me realize that the frustration I felt last week were a result from pushing myself.  I could have easily stopped walking around Hillbrow, returned the car back to MHA, or given up on jujitsu – but I didn’t.

Consequently, by the weekend I felt good.  I felt like I’d overcome some major challenges in my life.

Yes, it feels good to fall sometimes.  It feels better to get back up.

(P.S. I tried climbing.  It was great!)


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