The final weeks of ‘Project Kilimanjaro’ have flown by. There has been lots of activity to do with Kilimanjaro, and lots of activity connected with ‘the day job’ and lots of activity at home. And as I am sure that you know, its hard work fighting on three fronts. Still, we are getting there.
The Kili activity has come in a number of different forms. I increased my running from the summer onwards. Seven miles before breakfast? A mere bagatelle! Eight or nine miles at a weekend? A walk in the park! Six half marathon last year? Yeah, doesn’t everyone?! Although this is no guaranteed protection against Altitude Sickness, it should certainly help. I have even been walking up and down a few hills locally, mainly to get used to the boots and the rucksack.
Other more practical activities have been undertaken, like getting the appropriate vaccinations for travel to Africa, and getting the right kit and equipment for the trip. I have also had to think about food. Having Coeliac Disease means that I should not eat food containing gluten – and as many of my friends know when they have tried to cook a meal for me, this excludes a LOT of food from my diet! But this is where having good friends has helped. Alison has provided a gluten-free shake for me to take. This will give me a good dose of nutrients and comes with weight/size efficiency. I just need to hope that the customs officials at the various airports don’t take objection to my tub of shake (“Oh, pea protein is it sir? That’s what they all say.”) And Eva has provided me with whole load of gluten-free food from the company where she works. I just need to hire another porter to carry it all. I thank them both.
The other main activity linked to my walk has been in fund-raising. My travelling companion Johnathan and I took the decision early on that we would book our trip via a travel company, rather than link up with a charity that was organising a group to do the climb. Although it meant that we had to pay for the trip ourselves, it also meant that we were neither committed to one charity nor committed to raising a certain amount.
This enabled me to choose three charities to benefit from any donations I collected. One is the Footprints Orphanage in Kenya, who care for twenty or so orphans at any one time. The second is Coeliac UK – the charity supporting people like myself with Coeliac Disease. And the third is the Woodland Trust. The money raised for the Woodland Trust will all be spent on the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood, which I have been playing my small part to create in north-west Leicestershire. So, an international, a national and a local charitable cause will all benefit from any kind and generous donations.
However, setting up the charity page was not as straightforward as I had hoped. The orphanage was not registered with Virgin Money, and the registration process has been somewhat torturous. Hats off to Kevin, who represents the orphanage here in the UK, for doing all the work to fix this up. It’s now less than 4 days until I fly off and the orphanage has just be registered. The charity site has already taken donations, which will be split by the other two charities. However, I will stick to my word of supporting each charity equally, so I’ll have to juggle the donations at the end to make this happen. And sticking to my word is important to me.
My goal has been to raise money – and ideally I want to raise £3,000 so that all charities receive £1,000. My good friend Teresa has already raised nearly £350, and online donations have already topped £500, so we are on the way!
My thought in January last year – climb Kilimanjaro and raise money for charity. And although the methods may have changed over the last 12 months, the goal has remained fixed. Lesson No. Eight – Be firm on the goal, be flexible as to methods (or Charity begins at home, but it ends in Kenya).
And that’s about all I’ll have time for now, before I set off. After a few days in Tanzania, acclimatizing to the weather and the altitude, we will begin our climb of the mountain on Saturday 31st January. The transport will drop us off on the west side of the mountain at an altitude of about 2,800m. We climb about 700m to reach the first campsite (camping – yuck!). Over the next 5 days we steadily traverse the mountain to reach the final camp below the summit (4,600m). And on Friday 6th Feb we will set off at midnight for the final ascent. If we make it up to the rim of the mountain top we will have climbed to 5,735m, and if we make it to the very top we will be at 5,896m. The highest point on the African Continent. And the day will just be dawning.
Thank you for following my blog. If I can post a progress report during the trip I will do. If not, I know I go with the best wishes of Christine, Tinkerbell and the rest of my family and my many friends, and I will tell you all about it when I get back!
Good luck Tony, look forward to the progress reports, . Jan x
Two days left to take off and what can we say? The main thing is to believe in yourself and keep going. We are sure you will cope mentally and physically after all your preparation – although just one night in a tent might not have been the best training for camping! Good luck and remember to take it in bitesized chunks – each hour, each step will take you that bit closer to your goal! H N & J x