Last Saturday, we took 51 children age 9 to 14 on a trekking trip in Cipayung. Past years, not much problems were encountered, but this year, things went slightly different -_-. As my friends believed that the level of difficulty should be increased, they picked a route that was proven to be a little too difficult for young trekkers (and for adult with height phobia like me).
A brief picture on the route:
- Paddy fields ! The kids had to walk along the small border of the paddy fields (pematang sawah).
- Paddy fields on your left and a GORGE ( jurang) on your right ! The space in between is only about the width of your shoe.
- River with about an adult’s waist depth, but with seriously strong current -_-.
- Steep hills and more gorges.
- The night before was rainy, so everything was slippery and muddy.
- The person-in-charge , who supposed to be our navigator declared that we were officially lost.
When everyone managed to return to our inn, we breathed a sigh of relief on the fact that everyone were safe (although bruised and dirty). Their mobile phones were not necessarily safe. Apparently, because my friends didn’t have enough time to survey, all they did was just looking from the top of the hill and figured out the route.
We all swore that this incident must never ever happen again in the future, and I guess we should follow certain guidelines when taking young trekkers -_-. These are some that I could think of:
- Always check the routes beforehand.
- Have a contingency plan – if there is an injured person, where can we take him/her? With that route, if there were serious injuries our last hope would be Tim SAR.
- Tell the children to wear comfortable shoes, strong enough to stand the route, but not pretty enough that they will not feel bad if the shoes went to the mud. Cute pink sneakers really should not be there.
- Warn the children about bringing mobile phones and cameras. Some who realised that things were getting a bit tougher handed their phones and cameras to me, and yeppp that gave me the added pressure to save them from drowning in the river or in the paddy fields.
- Overall, I think the route should not be this difficult. Many first time trekkers were put-off by this trip. Thankfully there were other activities during the camp that cheered them up -_-.
- Beware of rivers -.- , some lost their sandals here too, so they had to continue their journey barefoot, and the stones in the river were pretty painful.
- First aid kit ! We only brought a bit of Betadine.
- Do not let the children know that we’re lost -_-, it caused unnecessary panic.
So wokay, it was completely our faults. Instead of getting them to appreciate nature, we were taking them on a mini Survivor trip. The older kids enjoyed it though. I could have enjoyed the trip more if I wasn’t thinking about the kids’ safety.