Earlier this year, Chris Finkel and a group of Rotary friends climbed Mount Kenya, quite a surprising accomplishment for a man in his 70s. “Three years ago John Glassford, who is a member of Rotary Club of Cootamundra, decided to organise a team to climb Mount Kenya,” said Chris, a member of the Rotary Club of Forbes.
John’s aim was to go back and help some of the less fortunate people living in Africa by getting together a group of 12 people who would raise $5000 each by climbing Mount Kenya, the second highest peak in Africa. The goal of $60,000 would help educate the Maasai People, a hunter-gatherer tribe in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Some of the funds raised will go towards building a school and training teachers to give children a better education.
The money will also be used to build an AIDS clinic, with some going towards the Australian charity Legacy. “So far we’ve raised around $40,000 and donations will be open until the end of 2015,” Chris said. The following is an excerpt from Chris’ journal where he wrote about his experiences and his Tanzanian guide, tackling the peak on
ANZAC Day. “After the first few minutes of climbing, I began to experience serious breathlessness. Moses dropped back from the main group to stay with me and slowly we made progress towards the last flat ridge below Point Lenana.”
“Moses and I reached the 4700 metre ridge to cheers and snow ball attacks from the rest of the team. I had climbed 4700 metres with a 10kg pack of gear and water on my back.” Chris was at the gym for 2-3 months before the challenge and would walk 8kms a day with a backpack and 6 litres of water to prepare. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Chris, “but we did it. It was a great challenge.”
Some members of the group also visited the Oloimugi Maasai Village, the site of a new school to be built using the funds raised by the Mt Kenya climb; quite a fascinating story in itself. “A village gate had been erected in our honour
and we were greeted by Maasai songs from the village ladies. We were guided through the gateway under an array of walking sticks held up by the very tall Maasai elders. I was singled out by a white bearded older Maasai tribesman and presented with his walking stick.”
The Rotary Club of Forbes will be hosting a Sponsor’s Night at the Vanderberg Hotel in September to celebrate the achievements of climbers and sponsors with food and a presentation of the adventure.