"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.” Dalai Lama XIV
Let me introduce you to my friend Dan Belhassen. We met in Africa for my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb this past June.
We bonded early in the climb because he saved me from falling off a 100 foot cliff in the very first hour of our climb.
We started our trek into the jungle toward Mt Kilimanajro on June 26, 2012. It was the tail end of rainy season. The roads we had to travel by truck in order to get to Kilimanjaro were still pretty muddy. So muddy in fact that our truck got stuck in the mud 3 miles short of our starting location.
Yes, we had to walk 3 miles in the slippery, sloshy, green and bushy mud jungle just to get to the starting point of our Kilimanjaro hike. It was a fairly hot and humid day. As I recall, it was about 90 degrees and wet dripping humid!
About 10 minutes after we started hiking from the offical start point, I got caught in a mud slide patch. It's hard enough to walk in the mud, but with the added backpack made it all more challenging.
Suddently, I slipped, fell and started sliding. I began to scramble, trying to grab onto to whatever I could to help me to stop sliding and more importantly, to stop moving. As I was sliding, I realized I had no idea where I was sliding into...
In an instant, I found myself going over a ledge that had a 100 foot drop into vegetation, that God only knows how far down that drop actually went. In a lightening moment, my fellow climber, Dan Belhassen from Canada, reached out and grabbed me by my shirt collar. As I recall he fell to the ground and someone held onto to him as he was holding onto me.
Here I am dangling 100 feet atop this ledge, backpack on, Dan holding onto to me by my just my shirt collar. It's not like I weighed just 85 pounds. At that time I weighed 280 pounds! That's a lot of weight to hold onto, one handed, on a ledge! Not an EASY feat. Dan's ability to hold onto me allowed me time to grab some tree roots that were sticking out of the ledge.
As I was dangling, still not sure if I was injured from the fall, I remember praying silently, "PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE GOD, don't let me break a bone!" Werner Berger yelled down to me, "Robby, Are you hurt? Can you move?" As I was holding onto the roots with Dan still holding onto me,I re-affirmned that I was ok and just needed help back to the path. So Dan and Michae,l our head guide pulled me back up to the path.
It was an intense first 10 minutes! What a way to start the Kilimanjaro journey!
But honestly, what was most AMAZING was the SPEED, and MANNER in which Dan Belhassen risked his own safety to help me. He didn't even know me. We just met the day before at the hotel.
Here Dan is, risking his safety and life to help someone he didn't even know.
That's what I call COURAGE, CHARACTER and a pure act of SEFLESSNESS. To be on the receiving end of such CARING is indestribcable gift.
I know Dan does not want, nor does he have a need for acknowledment here, but the FACT is, he put my life before his own, without hesitating. It was a NATURAL REACTION.
There are only two types of people I know of that react in such a way in similar circumstances:
1. TRAINED Special Opps Milatary type personell. They TRAIN for emergencies.
2. UNTRAINED Spiritual Warriors of life that think about others before themselves.
I started this article with a quote by his Holiness The Dalai Lama: "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.”
Dan Belhassen you are an AWESOME example of the human spirit in ACTION. Thank you for being being part of my journey.
Keep Being Brilliant,