To Samson, my guide, we trusted you with our lives. You made me trust male strangers again. You are an amazing human being, your advice and encouragement got me to reach new heights. When I could no longer continue, you took my backpack and carried it for me. It was like someone taking a major burden off your shoulders, so you can move forward, you were my Kili psychologist and counsellor.
A special thanks to my sister, Traci for all the support and encouragement she gave me, not just on Kilimanjaro but with my healing. I am also very grateful to the guides and the 6 porters who had to run, in darkness, for 6 hours throughout the night, whilst evacuating Traci after she had developed HAPE – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. It was imperative that she had to drop about 3000m in a very short period of time. Upon our return to Johannesburg she was given treatment and I am pleased to say that she has recovered totally.
Before I left for Kilimanjaro my wife, Rose gave me an envelope filled with letters of encouragement, one for each day. I would like to thank her for being by my side during my journey of recovery. Without you it would not have been possible. On reflection how right she was when she wrote the following in one of her letters: “Today is the day you take the demons, (of all the abused men that you have met and will meet in the future), by the horns squeeze the life out of them, look them in the face squarely and say, we will survive.”
To my youngest daughter who sees me as “The World’s Greatest” and gave me the words from R Kelly’s song, of the same name. I am so blessed to have a daughter who sees me in this light.
“I’m that star up in the sky, I’m that mountain peak up high, Hey, I made it, I’m the world’s greatest, And I’m that little bit of hope, When my backs against the ropes, I can feel it mmm, I’m the world’s greatest.”
My eldest daughter presented me with a “Good luck teddy” just before I departed and it accompanied me all the way. She may not have known it but she had a lot to do with me facing my demons, you inadvertently got me to take the first step to start my journey to become a survivor. THANK YOU.