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Survival of Geeta Seenath

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

IF someone were to undertake surviving in the dense Matura forest, consuming only water for seven days, 47-year-old Princes Town mother of three, Geeta Seenath, might be considered the most unlikely to do that.
Yet it was Seenath who in June found herself, lost and alone, dependent on common sense and prayer, to bring her out to civilisation and safety.
Seenath kept many in the country on the edge of their seats wondering, hoping, praying and even searching for her. Everyone was rooting that she would be saved.  
When she emerged from the forest on the afternoon of June 15, the question on almost everyone’s minds was, “How did she do it?”
To doctors and nurses who attended to her at the Sangre Grande Hospital for a week after she came out of the forest, the swellings on her feet and legs, the dehydration and starvation her body suffered was evidence enough that her experience was real.
To her family, she promised that she would never leave home again.
Seenath said her hike to Salybia waterfall with a group of friends was her first and last.
On June 8, she and friends had hiked to the site and took a bath in the water near Rio Seco waterfall in Toco.
She told her friends that she was coming out of the water, but she was unsure whether they heard her. Seenath said she started walking behind some other hikers but stopped to rest for five minutes. She then lost her way.
She said she was certain that her friends would form a search party and rescue her. 
When she saw no one, she began walking, following the course of the river.
With no survival gear, or training, and only a stick, she began her long journey.
For seven days, she swam, and climbed tree boughs. She fell and bled, ran from a snake, and was drenched in the rain almost every night with only tree branches and leaves for shelter.
In an interview with the press after her release from hospital, Seenath said: “I swam during the week and I ended up falling from the cliff because I climbed a rock. I fell in the shallow water and hit my knee, shoulder and head and from there I continued walking until I found my way out.”
The mother of three heard the search helicopters that circled overhead, and occasionally heard the voices of the search parties comprising her family and friends, soldiers, police officers, hiking guides, and north-coast villagers who had searched in vain for her.
On her own, she emerged from the forests and reached the home of 76-year-old Jerod “Wire” Nelson at Salybia/Mathura Trace, who contacted authorities and gave her a meal.
“Prayers helped me a lot ... I did not sleep. I did not feel tired, I did not cry, I did not feel depressed...I wasn’t scared. I just felt strong for the seven days. I told myself, I coming out of here,” Seenath had said.
Hers is a story of human survival, determination and endurance.
Recently, Seenath was contacted by producers of the Discovery Channel who are involved in the popular Bear Grylls series: Escape From Hell to document her extraordinary experience. They are interested in her story.
Seenath has never returned to the area in which she spent a week.
She told the Express, “I have not gone back there where I came out from, but I want to go and show my friends and family what I passed through. I am not totally over it. I think about it all the time.”
Seenath said she continues to visit the medical clinic at the Sangre Grande District Hospital.
“I have plenty memories. People who meet me are still talking about it, and they want to know the whole story.”
Seenath, who celebrates her 47th birthday today, has no plans to hike ever again.
“Not me at all,” she said.
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