Nick Dale, Children's Coordinator at Sutton Village Church, has just returned to the UK from a 10 day trip to Kenya & Tanzania. Nick was part of a 16 strong group taking part in the "Blood, Sweat & Compassion" challenge organised by Compassion UK. Compassion work with children around the world and lift them out of poverty. They arrange sponsorship to provide food, healthcare schooling and general well being.
The group visited a Compassion children's project just outside Nairobi where they were welcomed by a small group of children singing in Swahili. They then went on to meet the pastor, teachers and elders who run the project. After meeting a number of children and visiting some of the classrooms to observe lessons, the group had the opportunity to make a home visit. Nick was in a small group that went to Peter's home. It was in reality little more than a ramshackle tin shed with a clay floor. Peter's mother told us that she had two older daughters but they were married when they were aged just 12. The family could not afford to feed them. Peter is the first child in the family to attend school. This at least gives him a chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.
After the trip to the project, the group crossed the border into Tanzania to take up the challenge of trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. At 5895 metres (19,341 feet) Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa and the tallest free standing mountain in the world.
After a briefing by the head guide, we set off to the starting point. A gradual ascent through pleasant woodland on the first day eased them in to the rigors to come. As they made their way up the mountain, the effects of altitude and weather began to take their toll. One of the group, Linda from London, tripped and fractured her leg in two places. She was evacuated to hospital for treatment. Several others succumbed to the effects of altitude sickness and were unable to proceed beyond the final base camp before the summit attempt.
The group had a final briefing prior to their midnight departure from camp. A grueling 6 hours later they breached the ridge of the crater to summit at Gilmans Point. The sun was about to rise as they proceeded to the second summit point, Stellar Point. Spectacular views across the clouds hundreds of metres below and then the sun broke through. The final push took another 50 minutes and the 9 remaining trekkers reached their goal, Uhuru Peak. An altitude of 5895 metres, the roof of Africa.
All of the money raised through sponsorship/donations will help Compassion students to pay their way through university and help the next generation of young Kenyans to have a real chance to make something of their lives. You can still a donation by visiting Nick's page on the Compassion web site: http://compassion.ukrft.com/kilimanjaro-january-2014/u/nicholas-dale