22 Aug

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During the spring expedition to the Himalayas I received a mail from the National Association of Parents of Children with Cancer, “NURDOR”. They invited my team and me to join the camp which was to be held in Ivanjica in August to teach the little heroes various mountaineering skills.

I was very pleased to accept their invitation but under the condition that our activities were to be strictly on volunteer basis, without any fee.

My idea was to organize classes as fun and play activity to relax and prepare them to boldly accept the challenge and adrenaline; by doing this, I wanted them to gain a new experience and strengthen their self-confidence which they, in my opinion, desperately needed.

I thought I was going to motivate them to be fighters, that I would teach them how to be courageous and tenacious, never to give up …

It turned out that they taught me all I wanted to teach them!

First, we went mountaineering together with their parents. During the walk, it was the parents who showed more tiredness than their children. It was interesting to experience how little heroes encouraged the adults to persevere and reach the endpoint of the route. We talked about anything and everything but mostly about the Himalayas. Namely, the previous evening I had given a little lecture on expeditions and life in Nepal, followed by a film taken in Tibet.

The very next day we were deluged with hundreds of their questions and clever comments. I truly enjoyed having that conversation! We, the adults, have forgotten what it is like to be honest and open to the surrounding world. We have forgotten the enthusiasm and excitement of doing something new. Just how much we can learn from these small people with great hearts!

First and foremost, the fact that one individual cannot achieve success and cannot thrive alone. One must allow to be helped and must offer help when needed. It is compassion. It is also the emotion which is slowly dying out. We are becoming more and more alienated not only one from the other, but from the Nature that we are the part of.

Secondly, it is the title of this blog – life is wonderful! I felt overwhelming energy when I was with these children. I can describe it as the primal desire for life and the need to live out each day without any reservations. Their life is an example to follow for those who are afraid to live life. And there are so many of them nowadays. In my opinion, spending time with these little heroes could be a basis for some kind of therapy sessions which could be organized for people who have lost their faith and who let fear determine their fate.

Following the hiking, we made tents and played some adventure games near the hotel. It was just a prelude to the main adventure of the day. At one location Deki and Raša made ​​the rail where they taught the children to climb up and down the rope, and at the other, somewhat more demanding location, Milica and I helped the children to descend (absail) down a concrete vertical line. Everybody wanted to try, boys and girls alike. They were simply wonderful students: attentive and carefully following instructions to make flawless descend down the wall. How proud I was of these little heroes!

After all these activities the camp organizers invited us to stay one more day. However, we were required to attend the final weekend of the course for the third category mountain guides of the Mountaineering Association of Serbia. The course took place in Sopotnica near the town of Prijepolje. Having arrived there and talked for a while with the candidates I realized that time spent in Ivanjica should be a prerequisite for these people to take a course!

Life is wonderful!

Dragan Jaćimović
Extreme Summit Team

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