Making a success of it: the Treverton Gap year course

| June 4, 2013 | 1 Comment

By Mpumelelo Dlomo

Not too long ago, I was asked: “What have I done to help others?”

The question stumped me, because I felt almost as if I’d been a ghost all this time; people passing through me and me through them, never really touching anyone’s life in any major way. I feel as if that is already beginning to change, so in moving on I’ll start with three statements of fact. First, the young man writing this now is not the same one who left on the Treverton College Gap Post-matric Mkomazi Catchment to Coast expedition recently; second, the experience and the opportunity that I have been given is unmatched in its quality, and third, the lives that we’ve touched through the expedition and the course are due to our teachers’ kindness, guidance and wisdom.

Growing up on the Treverton Gap course

Since I joined the Treverton Gap course, I have taken part in a basic proficiency course for river guiding, received a qualifying certificate in surf lifeguarding, taken part in a triathlon and travelled from the mountain catchment area of a river to the coast, using a bicycle, raft and walking. These experiences have expanded my horizons and have me looking at things in a whole new light, even though I’m familiar with them. Mentally, physically and emotionally, I don’t think I’ve been this fit since childhood, expressing myself is starting to feel easier, and confronting my emotions and hang-ups is also something I’m starting to look deeper into. I realise the sacrifices that have been made for me.

Meeting children eager to learn

Many of the moments I experienced during our Catchment to Coast expedition are worthy of sharing, but I will have to limit them to just a few. During our expedition, we met with school learners from several schools along the route, sharing with them knowledge about the importance of water conservation. Our interactions with younger children made me realise that respect and familiarity are not mutually exclusive; it is completely possible to be an authority and someone’s friend as well. I have yet to feel anything akin to the excitement of schoolchildren who are eager to learn. I was truly astounded by their rushing energy and eager faces; a hunger for knowledge truly transcends all boundaries.

Get back on the bike

I battled with mountains and fought alongside the water to reach my goal, there was pain involved and unfortunate mishaps, but none enough to make me regret, waiver or wish that I was anywhere other than on this journey. If you fall of your bicycle 100 times, get up 101 times. This is what I’ve learnt, that as long as I am able, I will continue on. The back-up team cheered us on and looked after the wounded, and they were simply a pleasure to have had with us.

Ecology essential

The environmental portion of our trip was a success as well. We were expected to conduct several tests concerning, for example, turbidity and dissolved oxygen, and we were excited to learn so much about the ecology and overall health of the river. Pollution is a problem and the river could still be better looked after, meaning improved lives for the people living within its vicinity. The early morning rises and the late nights, the sleeping on the riverside, the falls, the getting back up, the people I’ve met all made this trip truly worth it, and I am so proud of the fact that I contributed to the education of the children of coming generations and the understanding of our environment.

Achieving success

When I started this Gap year, I had some difficulty assimilating myself into the set-up that already existed, but now I feel that I’m beginning to have more honest exchanges with my peers. We’re getting to know each other better, and the difficulties of some of our situations are beginning to bring us closer. I’ve still got a road to travel, but I feel as if I am at the best I have ever been. I chose a Gap year to create the foundation for a bigger, better, stronger and more successful version of myself. Prosperity and success is all that I wish for as it will give me serenity, fulfilment and a realisation of who I was named to be; an embodiment of the thing that my parents wished on me with a name: Success.

Category: Featured Articles, Winter 2013

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  1. Lumka Gaven says:

    Wow! I belive every word u said, as I was reading it i felt like I was part of this journey. I’m very proud of you and know that you have just touched another life…

    More great things are waiting for u Mpumi, its all in your hands. I belive in you

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