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A ticket to the jungle – How relationships survive the impossible

My name is DoDo, but my cousins call me DoltAll. This silly nickname came to be not for my karate skills but, as one Maltese saying goes, for my ability to do on my own whatever my eyes happen to be observing. Whether it’s biology, anthropology, zoology, medicine, creative expression, cooking or general knowledge, all of them are passions of mine, regardless of how unrelated some of them are.

Another personality trait of mine is that I’ve always been a keen adventurer. Risk-taking is in my blood and it goes back generations, from what I have been told. A few years ago, my cousin and I embarked on a safari in one of the rainforests in Congo, Africa.

One fine early morning as I was emerging from our tent, soon after waking up, a subtle footprint pressed into a bare patch of dirt caught my eye. If it had been midday, I might have missed it entirely. Immediately after sunrise, even the faintest dips and depressions cast shadows, like that lone footprint. I crouched down beside it. A sudden chill took over me when I realised that only a thin layer of canvas had been shielding us throughout the night, while we were sleeping soundly in the midst of the pitch-dark jungle.

At that moment, my younger cousin emerged from the tent joyfully inhaling the scents of dew-laden grass and wood smoke, with his eyes closed and a big smile on his face. I was concerned yet excited nonetheless. I always try to be a good sport. I didn’t want to worry my cousin when he seemed so high on African wildlife. He was wrapped up in his great white adventurer fantasy where everything is exciting and fantastic. Even a modest dinner consisting of tinned beef and beans was the most splendid supper he’d ever had, according to him.

Before embarking on this adventure, I did thorough research about the Congolese jungle. I admit, though, that I might have been overconfident in my capabilities. I paused for a moment to see how I could safeguard ourselves, as I was aware of the driving instincts of carnivores and what the consequences could be.

During our journey through the dense greenery, there were times when my cousin and I were at each other throats, especially when irksome discomforts like bugs got the better of us. However, when we lay our eyes on the beauty that surrounded us, the tension dissolved and we went back to being friends. In order to preserve our relationship after having an argument, we would reminisce about past situations where we had each other backs no matter what. In the evenings, after settling down, we would get inebriated by the indescribable beauty of the jungle sunset.

Normally, whenever people want to visit the jungle, it is highly recommended that a professional guide is hired so that it can be explored safely. Nevertheless, since we are both hard-headed, we decided to go on this adventure on our own. We have had trips in the wild before, where we had to rely on our own survival skills. This one, though, was incomparable.

As the pale lights of dawn seep through the seams of our tent, I start thinking of the day ahead. Another bumpy drive with the rusty land rover we hired, while we sit side by side. Another day of slapping mosquitos, hunting animals for food, making medicines if we become sick, embracing the wonders of the African wilderness and taking care of each other. This adventure really challenged our relationship to the core.

This motive behind this anecdotal story is to help the readers understand the importance of relationships during tough times. Quality relationships are very beneficial for our health. They help us celebrate the good times and provide us with much-needed support during the challenging ones. They combat loneliness and give us the opportunity to offer needed companionship in return. Healthy relationships increase your sense of belonging and purpose. They boost your happiness and reduce stress, improve self-confidence and self-worth, while helping you cope with life-altering situations.

Maria Mifsud

About Maria Mifsud

Maria graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) in 2008, then went on to read for a Masters in Probation Services at the University of Malta. After years of being part of the Government workforce, she realised that to better understand her clients and be more equipped, she had to further her studies by enrolling in a Masters in Systemic and Family Psychotherapy with IFT-Malta. Some years later, she continued to pursue her studies in Clinical Supervision with IFT-Malta. Maria is also a qualified Victim Offender Mediator.

TherapyPacks Terms and Conditions

1. TherapyPacks come in bundles of 5 or 10 sessions. Prices of bundles:

  • 5 sessions – €270 – must be utilised within 3 months from date of purchase
  • 10 sessions – €520 – must be utilised within 6 months from date of purchase

2. Bundles are not transferable. This means they cannot be used by, or gifted to, anyone else but the person whose name is listed as the TherapyPacks bundle holder.

3. Bundles which are purchased for Couples Therapy and Family Therapy can only be used by members of the couple or family with one therapist. If members of a couple or family decide to take up individual therapy with another therapist, the bundle will only apply to sessions with the therapist originally referred and cannot be also used for the individual sessions with another therapist. Exceptions will be made if the original therapist is unable to see the client or family and the couple or family are referred to another therapist. After referral, the same conditions will apply.

4. Bundles are valid for a limited time period, as listed above. This means that the bundles will expire once the respective time period has elapsed. Any sessions not utilised within this period will be lost. This means that a refund will not be given for unused sessions. Start date commences on date of purchase of bundles.

5. Bundles are only valid for full price sessions (charged at €60) and not for sessions with trainee psychotherapists, reports or assessments.

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9. Management reserves the right to modify or replace the terms and conditions. In such circumstances, clients will be given adequate notice and time to adhere to such.

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