lunedì 31 ottobre 2011

In the twilight zone

John Kirwan & Salvatore Cimmino

It was about 9:00 a.m. when I dived, the first impact was terrifying: I burned my face with the water for how it was freezing cold!

Just then, as if a flame had lit inside of me, that burning face almost made me vicious: instead of fear it gave me the strength and determination to vehemently pursue my goal: the success of this crossing would have made a decisive contribution to the realization of one of my dreams: a functional prosthesis center in the city of Goma, to meet the needs and especially the prayers of so many children, boys, men and women who are amputees: a life with less suffering, less tears, and more smiles and more flashes of joy.

The next stage will be in Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the region of Lake Kivu at the border with Burundi and Rwanda, where I will try to unite the island of Idjwi and Goma City with a virtual bridge 40 kilometers long.

Many times the cold woke me up from my determination, with the freezing currents invading my body and lighting something in my brain, as if my heart had moved inside my head, making my skull tremble, and it would come and go.

Every twenty minutes I stopped to drink some supplements dissolved in hot water, it was a relief.

I did feel the cold, however, it was inside my whole body, but admitting it would have meant surrendering.

Every time I raised my head, the Southern Island was approaching, but it was still far away.

Then I tried to give myself new energy and more mental strength.

I started to hear the people cheering me: was I dreaming? Was the cold taking over my senses? Instead I was really hearing them, with Philip who encouraged me for the goal was close, told me I was only five kilometers away from the arrival.

I felt like a lion, it seemed that I had entered the water only a few minutes earlier. I was flying! I really felt like I was flying!

The Southern Island was no longer an illusion: it was there!

It could have been two kilometers from land, It was my last stop, the twenty-fourth, I pushed forward with all my strength. I would tell myself: come on, you made it, when I suddenly felt the sea turning against me: shaking me, pushing me back, I suffered like never before until that moment. I couldn’t make it, yet land was at hand, I could see the waves crashing against it but couldn’t reach it, the sea would push me back. Then finally, after so much effort and so much pain, after 8 hours and 18 minutes, I touched the wall of Perano Head, near Tory Channel.

In an instant my dreams had materialized, I was happy, I cried with joy, God had listened to my prayers, I made it!

I feel that this miracle will help to give smiles, hope and confidence to so many children in Africa.

Kia Ora

Salvatore Cimmino

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