Four St Jude's secondary students and two teachers were given the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in January, with our great supporter, Global Immersion. Amani, one of our Form 4 students, reached the top. Steph, our volunteer Media Officer, caught up with Amani and transcribed his reflections on the awesome feat.
"As a young boy, I never thought it possible that I would climb Kilimanjaro so I when I got the amazing opportunity to do so, I was very excited about it. Climbing Kili was tough and I thought, at times, I wouldn't make it. I am used to hiking, long distance running and athletics but going up the mountain was a new challenge for me."
"On the first day, I felt no pain or tiredness and loved walking through a forest and observing the different types of plants. We walked for about five and a half hours and I dreamt about reaching the top. The second day was a bit tougher as I really felt the cold and had to learn to climatise to the altitude but I didn't give up."
"The last night was the most challenging but it was a wonderful feeling to reach Kili. At night, from high above, I could see the bright lights of Arusha and Moshi far below. Slowly and eventually I reached the summit. It was so amazing to be on top of it and seeing the sun rise and looking over at Mount Meru which looked very small. The sun was very near to me, when I was on the peak and I felt on top of the world."
"I am from the Chagga tribe, which is from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, so I was climbing my mountain. That is what the porters would remind me of, when I felt discouraged, about how I was climbing "my mountain" and I should feel proud. I did. I felt like a 'Chagga Hero' because I had summited the mountain which is so important to me and my tribe. I felt like a great hero. It has made me feel like I can scale any mountain and I now hope and plan to climb one in Kenya someday."
"I am thankful and really appreciate St Jude's and Global Immersion for giving me the chance to climb Kili which I didn't think I'd ever get to do."