Going up the towers as a viewer and not a jumper is certainly not as nerve-wracking. Last time, I left my camera safely away from my shaking hands. This time around, it’s much easier to take in the view and chat to my guide; a friendly, safety conscious guy.
I’ve always imagined that people who work in these sorts of places are adrenalin junkies, seeking and following adventure wherever it calls. So, I’m quite intrigued to find out why he chose this job. Particularly because the way he’s holding onto the cage walls, makes me wonder if I shouldn’t also reach for the cage.
On the viewing platform, overlooking Soweto, he begins his story. He used to work at a fast food joint, a job he didn’t love. He wasn’t making enough money, so he started putting feelers out there. While doing odds jobs around his neighbours’ house, he was asked if he would be interested in “jumping for 2010”.
Oh the promise of twenty-ten!
His neighbour proceeded to explain that there was a ‘job opportunity’, involving tourism and jumping. Simple enough, it paid better and that pleased him.
So, he said: “Count me in,” quit his job and off he went to the training sessions.
“Weren’t you scared of jumping?” I ask.
“Well, to be honest. I didn’t really know what this jumping thing was all about.”
He continues, “it was my first time hearing about bungee jumping, power swinging and abseiling. I thought, it would be jumping…uyazi mos…Jumping. Uuup…dooown.”
(Oh my goodness….Up down?)
I nod, wide eyed and incredulous, because I’m thinking; who get’s paid to jump up and down.
“Haai, bhuti, surely when you went through the training it was explained to you?”
“Yes, it was. I heard them but I didn’t… hear.”
(Right, don’t you hate it when that happens?)
He then explains what the training process included. There was first aid, safety procedures, learning how to tie various knots and securely fasten ropes and harnesses for the various jumps. He thoroughly enjoyed this process and was actually looking forward to this whole jumping thing.
“So when did it finally dawn on you that you’d be jumping of the tower?”
“Oh,” he smiles sheepishly and adds “during the final part of the training…the practical.”
(or as I prefer, the awakening).
Only after standing at the bottom of the towers did it all come together. He now understood just how high 100 meterswas, also clear was the term “freefall” for 30 meters and well of course “jump!”
He took a deep breath, played cool, and put on the harness. Meanwhile, one of his colleagues walked over to management and handed in their resignation. Apparently, ‘i-job’ is not ‘i-job’ for everyone.
Three years later, although not the typical adrenalin junkie, he’s done the jump countless times and is still jumping. And what would you know? ”It’s fun” he says.
|Bungee jumping platform|