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Caitlin Standish's Fundraiser:

Mt. Kenya Women's Climbing & Empowerment Expedition

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Caitlin Standish


My friend and fellow Outward Bound instructor, Rafi, is spear-heading a 3-week women's climbing and empowerment trip in Kenya with 5-7 American women and 5 Maasai women. The trip will involve a week and a half of cultural exchange - living, learning and exploring women's issues among the Maasai - followed by a combined group effort to climb Mt. Kenya! The goal is to provide an exciting opportunity to a group of Maasai women to climb Mt. Kenya, which would otherwise be something very far out of their reach.

The Maasai tribe is well known throughout the world for their rich and fascinating culture, including their incredible bead-work, music, and traditional pastoral lifestyle. Unfortunately, in the last century they have been dispossessed of much of their ancestral lands and have been "left behind" in many ways, often because of the conflict between their traditional way of life and "modern progress." Maasai women are incredibly strong, skilled, compassionate, and joyful people whose lives do not normally allow them to travel outside of their villages. This trip is intended to give the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to climb a peak that is considered sacred by their tribe.

Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest on the African continent (next to Kilimanjaro). There are three summits, two of which are long technical routes, and the third (called Point Lenana) which is a non-technical peak. We would be climbing to Pt. Lenana, which is approximately 16,500 feet in elevation and the itinerary takes five days if all goes well. Most people who climb this mountain hire porters, cooks and guides. Our vision is to do the whole thing self-supported with 100% women. Each American woman will be responsible for providing all of the clothing and equipment for one Maasai woman, including backpack, sleeping bag, clothing, boots, etc.

Funds raised will go towards the cost of equipment, gear, and travel. My hope is to raise enough money to be able to donate all of the expedition clothing and equipment to a Maasai woman so that she may continue to guide in the future.



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