Last year I signed myself up for a challenge of a lifetime…. to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Did I realize what I was getting myself in to? Hell no! Was I completely naive? Hell yes! Am I still going to do it? Of course!
I’ve always had a yearning to volunteer but the timing was never right or the opportunity never arose. I’d researched the concept many times but was thrown off by the fact that it was going to cost me big bucks to do so! What’s up with that? Why should I pay to volunteer? I am willing to give my time, energy and hard work. These non profit associations should be happy they have people who are willing to volunteer. Ok, perhaps I was a bit naive back then but now I have a better understanding why it’s ‘sometimes’ (there are SOME non-profit associations that do no require you to pay) necessary to pay. There are many unseeable expenses that never crossed my mind before, like accommodation and food to local host families and transport to and from the area where you’re volunteering, also a donation to the association itself. That identified, I was more open to the idea.
Last year I was back home in Adelaide on a government temp job doing data entry. I had a spectacular view of the Adelaide hills from my seat and often caught myself daydreaming of being in some farfetched country doing anything else but keying in numbers! During one of those moments on a Monday morning to be precise, I noticed an email from UNICEF with the subject line: “Your Once In A Lifetime Adventure to Kilimanjaro Awaits You”. Now that is the kind of email I like to see in my inbox! (take note incase you ever need to get my attention) I clicked on the link and it took me to their website outlining the trip and I was sold by the opening lines: Join the Kilimanjaro Climb for Kids in June 2014. You will tackle the mighty Kilimanjaro and help UNICEF Australia provide healthcare to millions of children and their families left vulnerable due to drought, floods, displacement and emergencies.
Where do I sign up? I sent an enquiry response to the email and 5 minutes later I received a phone call from Kristen at Inspired Adventures (the organisation behind the trip www.inspiredadventures.com.au) saying it was already full! OMG! Not even 15 minutes had passed since I had received the initial email. Aren’t people usually manic on Monday mornings? Apparently not! Kristen said they were overwhelmed with the amount of people interested and they may extend the amount of participants to 25, so 5 extra. Within 5 minutes she had called me back saying UNICEF had authorised the 5 extra people and I had been accepted. WOW! So I was signed up… as well as 24 fellow Australians.
Together we are going to tackle the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, the beast herself, Mt Kilimanjaro! Talk about scary. Am I a regular trekker? No. Am I a fitness junkie? No. A normal person would ask, why are you signing yourself up for such an enormous conquest? Good question. In life we need to push ourselves, take risks, fulfill our wildest dreams, tick those boxes and make the most of our time on this incredible planet. Simple.
The goal of the trip is to raise funds for UNICEF’s Mobile Health Nutrition Teams (MHNT), which target places where no other access to healthcare is available. We are required to raise a minimum of $4000 each which is a reasonable amount of money requested in order to create a network of its kind. UNICEF gave us an Everyday Hero web page that allows our contacts to make donations through our page with the funds going directly to UNICEF. If you would like to make a donation, please visit my web page:
4 months to go until we leave and I am busily trying to prepare myself for the adventure; physically, mentally and also the practical things to take with me. Lucky for me it’s a popular trek and the amount of information you can find on the net is never ending. Trek routes, what to pack, what to wear, how to prepare physically, injections, visas etc. Seeing videos of people who have accomplished Kili already has given me some inside as to what I’m going to experience. In particular there was a group of Australians who went over in 2009 and 1 girl in their group was the first person with a prosthetic leg to climb the mountain. An astounding effort!
I’ll keep you posted on how my trip goes.
Wish me luck!