Author: Nana Adjoa D. Darko, G
Accra-Ghana

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Participants on Athena

“Women are their own enemies.”

This oft-repeated cliché had been getting on my nerves for a while. Where was the empirical evidence that women couldn’t work together without having each other’s neck?

I ruminated on this thought with a few other women and concluded that an All-Girls abseil adventure was in order. I could create a unique environment for women to come out of their comfort zones and push themselves beyond their physical, mental and social boundaries. Women could socialize, bond and create business networks for themselves in no other environment than in the great Ghanaian outdoors. Finally, women could throw into the trash can the misguided notion that women couldn’t work, socialize, push their minds beyond mental boundaries and engage in healthy conversations without making enemies of themselves.

My girls and I decided to give it a shot, and set 12th September, 2016 for a girls-only adventure show-down.

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Safety briefing on Athena

The sacred Krobo Hills stood fiercely at the Akuse junction awaiting. For the first time, they refused to glower, instead seeming to smile  from their 45-metre perch as the Athena adventure team – a whole busload of beautiful women – hiked through the steep ravine towards the 40-metre abseil spot. Indeed, hills love girls too!

The people of Krobo do not only have rich history and culture but have a lot to show in terms of landscape too. Krobo Hills is the ancestral home of the Krobos. Even though, the tie to their traditional homeland was ultimately terminated by a confrontation with colonial power in 1892, the natives of Krobo pay homage to their ancestors and the spirit of the hills during their annual festival in October. There is an enormous artwork on the hills to explain their fondness for Kloyom.

The drills and thrills, the fun and the fond memories of the day couldn’t have been exaggerated. Hearing the hearts of 25 young business leaders representing Ghana, Germany, Nigeria and the United States beating louder as we climbed up the Krobo Hills was awe-inspiring. Sweating off fears for the outdoors and taking adrenaline-filled steps one after the other was a challenge we all welcomed.

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Athena Explorers take a selfie before the ravine assault

The spectacular landscape of the Krobo Hills was worth every sweat. We got up the nearly 350 foot-high outcrops panting for breath, but the pristine vegetation and the surrounding view was more than worth the tiredness that crept into our legs.

The thorough education about abseil equipment, and all one needed to do to abseil was brilliantly done, but that obviously couldn’t completely alleviate the fear for heights that had long been engraved on the women’s psyche. But we all agreed with Nelson Mandela that “courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.

But the women faced their fear of the unknown in the best ways they knew how.

Squarely.

Some screamed their heads off as they abseiled the 40-meter vertical surface. A few got to trust the ropes more after the winds and the uneven rocky surface shifted them a bit on-course, but everyone knew in the end, that a remarkable feat had been achieved by Ghana’s most unapologetic women.

At the end of the day, I knew we had been successful when one client said to me, “This is the most priceless and meaningful experience I have ever had”.

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Athena’s conquering heroines.

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