Climbing Kilimanjaro & Volunteering

It is a week since we returned home from the adventure that had been in the planning for 18 months. It is a week that has gone past in a bit of a blur, but I am beginning to feel like we’re coming back down to earth. I am still thinking about the trip a lot and parts of it seem very surreal.

Having never been to Africa before, never climbed a mountain before and never volunteered before; the whole journey had an impact on me that will never go away. Such a lot to take in and do in just over 2 weeks.

I knew I was in good shape but nothing prepares you for the altitude

The climb was tough, we knew it would be, having trained quite hard for the climb I knew I was in good shape but nothing prepares you for the altitude. It’s a leveller. I think as a group of 16 I don’t think there was one person that was not affected in some way by it, some more than others, some for longer than others.

I cannot fault the team we had with us – the porters, cooks and guides were amazing. Honest and the team were fantastic “16 of you started this – 16 will finish it” and no matter how tough it got we believed them, and we did it.

Nothing can prepare you for the experience, the amazing scenery, the atmosphere, the camaraderie, I will never forget the sky at night and the stars, I am quite sure I will never see nighttime sky so beautiful as the one above the clouds on Kilimanjaro.

The end of climb and tipping ceremony was great, a fun affair with all the team, climbers, guides, porters, cooks all coming together to celebrate our summit and collect their well-deserved tips. We loved the openness and fairness of it, dealt with beautifully by Castro. It was JOYOUS!

The next part of our trip was to The Nasio Centre, Western Kenya. After seeing pictures from Joey on his previous visits it was so nice to be there and meet the Nasio Team. We saw and did a lot in the few days we were there. I think every single one of our group was so glad that we added on the volunteering part. To see where the money that you raise goes and meet the people that the Nasio has a huge positive impact on was brilliant. The warmth and care we were treated with by the Nasio team, the families we visited, the children we met, the medical centre & the spirulina staff was overwhelming.

For us as a family, Spencer, myself and Joey were so, so happy to be part of building Flora and her family a new home, meeting her and also meeting Dancan, who we also sponsor. Our time at the guesthouse was special, emotional and I left feeling like I was part of The Nasio family and community of Musanda.

We left Musanda to travel to safari, an altogether different experience, the hotel was very serene and beautiful and it was amazing to see the animals wild and free and the beauty of the ever-changing African Countryside, but I must admit it is the part of the trip that I think of the least (that is testament to how amazing the first two parts of the adventure were.)

I keep reflecting back on the amazing experience we’ve had and I can now fully appreciate why the volunteering had such an impact on Joey the first time he visited when he was 15.

I am so pleased we made the decision to do this challenge

I am so pleased we made the decision to do this challenge – I have come away feeling proud of myself and proud of our group. As adults, we can get stuck in our lives, cocooned in the everyday and this trip shows it is good to push yourselves not just physically but mentally and emotionally. This has been an experience I will never forget and I thank The Nasio Trust for giving me the opportunity to have done it.

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The Nasio Trust