|HIZ students take leap of faith — literally|
|Written by John Mark Adkison|
|Sunday, 06 December 2009 19:48|
The jump takes place at Livingstone, Zambia, on the Victoria Falls Bridge that sits on the Zambia and Zimbabwe border, over the Zambezi River. There is a 111-meter drop before the bungee line snaps the faller back up into the air and can be pulled back onto the bridge safely.
Daniel Powell and Laura Mitchell, two sophomores that just returned from the HIZ program, both said it was an experience that made them feel as if they could do anything.
Leading up to the event, however, were mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension.
“Well, leading up to bungee jumping I wasn't so much nervous as I was eager. I had already jumped the gorge swing, which, as the name suggests, swings you out away from the bridge, and is an even longer freefall,” said Powell. “I didn't have much time to process what was going on. They got me strapped in so fast. Then it was 'one, two, three,' step off, and suddenly a single carabineer is all that stands between me and a death drop. I sincerely thought I was going to die.”
Laura Mitchell had similar feelings beforehand.
“As they were tying my legs everyone was reassuring me that I would be fine and that I could do it. I thought that was nice but rather unnecessary. I wasn't actually going to jump,” said Mitchell. “When I got to the edge I finally realized I was going to jump. I was so scared. I have to do it now; I'm all the way up here. Why do people do this? Don't they realize it's really high? Why would anyone want to do this? He said "1, 2, 3, BUNGEE!" and I stepped off.”
However, Mitchell did not jump off as she was supposed to.
“That's right, I stepped off. You aren't supposed to do that. You are supposed to fall forward and then push off. I was either too scared to do it right or I didn't pay attention,” said Mitchell. “I probably did it wrong because I refused to believe I was going to do it. I knew what I was supposed to do but I didn't do it. It didn't really matter to me at the time — I just had to get the jumping part over with.”
Mitchell ended up being fine and none of the HIZ students were injured in their falls. However, fear was one of the many emotions whirling through their heads as the plummeted through the empty air towards the river below.
“I didn't really think. I just said 'Oh God, Oh God, Oh God!' over to myself. I wasn't using his name in vain. I was really scared and called on him. I screamed a lot,” said Mitchell.
Powell, however, had something else on his mind. “Honestly, what I was thinking as I fell, arms to my side, was, ‘I look just like James Bond in Goldeneye.’ I felt cool.”
Bungee jumping is one of those experiences in life many people have written down on their lists of “things to do before I die”, along with other items such as sky diving, visiting Paris, swimming the English Channel and reading the entire Bible in one sitting.
“Everyone should do this,” said Mitchell. “‘Why don't they?’ I asked the world.”
HIZ is all about taking leaps of faith, whether it is going into some of the most impoverished areas in the world, braving the African wilderness, living in a strange land for three whole months, or stepping off a bridge into thin air.
Check out this slideshow of where and how they bungee jumped:
|Last Updated on Monday, 07 December 2009 14:39|