Kili Countdown

Posted by & filed under Reflection.

It costs Outward Bound $2,000 to send one woman who has suffered violence to a transformational experience in the Canadian Wilderness.  The Women of Courage (WOC) program helps participants discover their strengths and provides the tools to allow these strengths to be used confidently in daily life.

I want to fundraise enough money to allow 10 women to experience this phenomenal course. To do that, as many of you know, in January 2014 I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. So far, I am humbled by your generosity – my clients, business partners, colleagues, friends and family.

Today’s tally is at $11,825.  To those of you who have generously contributed – a heartfelt thank you. It is overwhelming how enthusiastically you have donated. To those of you who have told me that you will and wanted a reminder closer to the time – this is it.  And to those of you who may have missed it – this is my last formal ask for your help. Every bit makes a difference. Every encouraging statement carries.

Some of you have asked me why this cause, and many of you have asked me how am I preparing myself, so here is a bit of a personal update.

I am not climbing because I have gone through what the women participating in the WOC program have. However, as some of you might know, I am a warrior and a survivor of sorts.  And I know that overcoming life obstacles with the support of others is much easier than going through it solo. I know how lonely despair can feel. I did not tap into a large support network when dealing with past life challenges, but when I finally did let someone in, their encouragement and belief in me was tremendous. WOC provides this community of care. WOC is this encouragement and this belief – support for all the women who have endured violence and who have the courage to move on.

The Mt. Kilimanjaro climb is not the hardest of the climbs. And although I have discovered ice climbing this winter, I am not a true climber. And besides, this climb is more of a hike than a climb.

My journey is a 7-day, 55 km walk on the Machame-Mweka route. Its challenge lies in the altitude. We will start at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet and will climb to 19,340 feet.  To all of us used to living at sea level – it will be an adjustment! I understand I will need to curb my enthusiasm to walk fast and adapt the motto of “Pole, Pole” (meaning “slow, slow”) to manage the oxygen deprivation. I hear that everybody feels some form of altitude sickness, and who will react better or worse cannot be predicted.  I am keeping my fingers crossed – please do the same!

I do want to make sure that I am fit to face the Mountain. I respect the fact that it is a Mountain I will be climbing.  My workout routine includes a few things: meditation twice daily – the relaxation techniques help me to slow my breathing, slow my heart-beat, and stay focused. Workout 3-4 times a week – kickboxing and TRX, focusing on cardio and core strength. And I walk.  I love walking. Lastly, I am trying to pay attention to my diet. I do not have the discipline that some of you have to adopt a strict dietary regime, I probably enjoy food and a glass of wine too much, so moderation is the operative word for me.

I have just finalized compiling my gear. The support and guidance of Outward Bound in making sure we have the right tools has been fantastic. I look like a pro, and my vanity is nurtured!

The countdown to the trek has started for me.  Only so many days and so many nights.  And just over $8,000 to collect. I hope you will help. Please do so safely by using the link below.

For now, I remain grateful and focused –

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