It is now April 21st, two months from the finish of my Kilimanjaro climb. I am so very grateful to the 60 contributors--so far--to my Climb for the Touch Foundation Fundraiser. I can't thank all of you enough! Please know that I am still trying to reach my goal of raising $5,895 for Touch (the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro in meters). The Touch Foundation does such important work to improve the health care system in Tanzania. And the U.S. government is behind Touch too--matching funds on a 1-1 basis, and fostering the Touch model as one that can be replicated in other poverty-stricken countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there simply aren't enough doctors and medical personnel and equipment to reach everyone in need.
So, if you'd like to read more about my summit climb, please read the blog below. Hope you had a very happy Easter! Happy Spring!
I am now back from Africa! Summit Day began at 11 PM with a full moon and the stars so close to the top of Kibo Mountain that it seemed as if we could touch them. We were doing the old "pole, pole", slowly-slowly in Swahili, literally just putting one foot in front of each other. Then all hell broke loose--thunder, lightning, snow and winds of 50 mph. A veritable blizzard.
While the climb up to the crater rim from the Kibo campsite is challenging in the best of conditions (with a vertical gain of over 3,000 feet over 6 hours), the driving snow and high winds made it even harder to see a path. In some places the snow drifted up to the top of our thighs.
From Gilman's Point (at the top of the crater rim) to the summit at Uhuru Peak (19,341 feet) usually takes 90 minutes. On this day, it took almost three hours. I was so happy to see the green sign that I leaned over to kiss it. The skies finally cleared as we were making our way back around the crater rim, and then down the 37 switchbacks back to the Kibo Hut. (If I had seen those switchbacks in the light, I would never have gone up!
It had taken 9 hours to ascend. We would descend for another 10 hours to the next campsite that day--dropping down 7,100 vertical feet.
While I didn't get to look out towards Mwanza and the Bugando Medical School at the summit, or see a beautiful sunrise (I literally could see only two feet in front of my face), I unrolled a pillowcase where I had written "Thanks Be to God...and to Touch Donors." So thanks again to all who thought and prayed for me to make it to the summit, and who have generously contributed to The Touch Foundation.
I'm still a little short of my fundraising goal, so please do contribute if you are so moved. Just click on the Orange "Donate to this Fundraiser" Button. Thanks!