Hello Everyone 🙂
On the 24th of February 2012, I took part in a charity event with my sister (Alex) and friend (Katja) in the heart of London. Us brave volunteers ventured off to the London Zoo to partake in a charitable trust experience: Fire Walk for the Tiger SOS campaign. There were 73 participants overall, of whom I was the youngest and in total we raised £20,000 (the target was £12,000).
We were greeted at the entrance by “Tony the Tiger” who gave us all some encouragement to overcome the nerves. But what we thought was just nervousness, was nothing compared to what we felt when we walked around the corner to find the fireman controlling the fire that we would be walking across… and we’d do it barefoot too! At this point, fear started creeping in.
We were entertained by a fire-breather who was running burning sticks along his body and swallowing the fire and breathing it like a dragon. Basically saying that what we were going to do was a piece of pi…e.
After we collected our wristbands and signed the indemnity forms, we were guided to the auditorium for the compulsory “Nothing is Impossible” seminar. We were not allowed any alcohol before, to conquer the fear, as we probably would’ve combusted into a million flames 🙂 Yay!!
In the 45 minute seminar, we were taught about the different levels of fear and therefore had to teach our chosen partner the craziest, wackiest dance move that we could think of. Landing up in fits and giggles, the group was instantly relaxed and had conquered the first level: Embarrassment.
Following that, we had to stand about a metre away from each other, and play a game called “Ping Pong”, where person A says “ping” and person B says “pong”- over and over. Then person A changes to “pong”, thus making person B say “ping” and as we switched around between “ping” and “pong”, we had to move closer towards each other. This beat the second level fear: The irritability of “things invading your personal proximity”.
As we started to really understand what fear was all about, we learnt that we are all born with only 2 fears: The fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. I found this very interesting as I never knew that and thought that we weren’t born with any fears, but that a bad experience caused us to be afraid of something.
The ultimate stage of fear that we were taught about was the fear of the unknown. Naturally. Obviously we were scared about walking over hot coals reaching up to 800 degrees Celsius, because none of us had ever done it before and had no expectations of how it would feel. But when you are prepared to do something you’ve never done before, is preparation really enough when the outcome is unknown?
Then, after watching a few participants breaking wooden boards (ninja-style) and breaking wooden arrows on their throats (just because they could) we were minutes away from facing the path of fire. We walked up to a cheering crowd, removed our shoes and were told to walk normally, at a normal pace with a normal stride. Of course, because this ordeal was a completely normal thing to do 🙂 The path of burning embers was glowing red and orange and our hearts were beating in our tummies. When the coals were ready for us, the temperature that we walked on was around 550 degrees Celsius.
Katja went first, then me, then Alex. I stepped up to the edge of the bed of burning coals and was told to go when I was ready. Without hesitation, I took my first step and walked across the 6 foot path. Success! 🙂 I couldn’t feel the heat of the coals at all, but I really noticed that I didn’t hear a thing from the moment I stepped onto the coals until the moment I stepped off. That really stuck out for me and I guess it shows how incredible the human mind is.
Out of 73 people, we all completed the walk. I did it twice and am pleased to say that I am burn and blister free!!! 🙂
It was an amazing, yet strange experience and I truly appreciate the support that I received from my friends, colleagues and family. At the end, I achieved 110% of my fundraising target and enjoyed the well deserved drinks afterwards!
THANK YOU all once again.
Tayla & the Tigers