|The Chinese Internal Arts|
|issue 28||Spring/Summer 2000|
|*** this issue has been archived off ***|
|( only selected articles remain)|
Saying of the month:
One dog barks at the shadow, and the rest bark at the sound.
-- Old Chinese proverb..
Some friends told me about their trip to the high Atlas Mountains and it sounded my kind of holiday. At the time there was no way in which I was fit enough to complete such an adventure. I had polio as a child but led a very active life for many years. I am now suffering from the late effects of polio and find it extremely difficult to walk. This in mind, I heard about Qigong from the same friend (Dawn Hatton). Somewhat sceptical I rang Eva and booked a course. That was two years ago. My husband and I "negotiated" the holiday through a Moroccan agent, all the time wondering "Was I up to such a strenuous trek?" We both knew that the experience was the only way of finding out.
When we made it to Tabant we had to ask around for our guide. Discussions then took place as to how many mules we would take with us (and how much they would cost). After lengthy negotiations with half the village it was agreed that three would be sufficient and that my specially adapted wheelchair would be able to come along too. This was not to be. There was no room for my chair - panic on my part, as my walking is very limited. Once the mules were loaded up I was a little worried, as there seemed to be no mule for me. I was then informed there was no problem, as I would be sitting on top of all the equipment. I won't go into how I got on top of all the baggage but there were hands everywhere.
We spent eleven days trekking and I can honestly say the scenery was spectacular. There seemed to be a jumble of snow-capped peaks and plunging valleys. Every day brought a completely different picture. At night we made camp on a patch of flat ground (if we could find one), the highest at around 10,000 ft at the base of Mount M'goun. The going was very tough for me. I had to be tied on with the baggage to cross some of the passes, as they were so steep. Daoud our guide and Ali the muleteer would sometimes have to push the mules uphill and hang on to their tails coming down. At one point, Stewart said to me "You do realise, Kate, if the mule falls you go with it?" Of course I realised it but I thought "What a way to go - doing something that I was really enjoying". We made a point when we stopped for lunch that I lay still and shielded from the sun for a couple of hours before we proceeded with the second stage of the day. It was very important that I conserved my energy for the trek alone.
Obviously there were no toilet facilities and this is where Stewart became my legs. He would have to piggy-back me to discreet places and I can tell you there weren't too many of them! When we completed our trek, Stewart said that he was really worried as to how I would stand up to such a journey. When I joined Eva to do Qigong I was very rigid and my energy levels were extremely low. After two years I feel so good both mentally and physically and can manage my energy levels. I'm strict with myself as regards all my exercises and some days I really feel I don't want to be bothered (ed:-Kate practises every day). But after being in the High Mountains and seeing what I can achieve if I carry on, makes all the hard work worthwhile.