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Some of my fondest childhood memories are of hiking and climbing with my father – an avid outdoorsman.  I still enjoy the outdoors and climbing with my husband and dog Bruno on weekends. Therefore, when I heard about the opportunity of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro I didn’t hesitate to sign up.  I could not think of a better way to climb than in support of CARE Canada’s work overseas – knowing that my donations and efforts would go to supporting vulnerable women and girl in their struggle to overcome poverty and live in dignity.  So I convinced by husband to come along, and we were off on a lifetime adventure with CARE Canada and Tusker Trail.

The climb was amazing.  The landscapes are spectacular, with new surprises for us every day. Monkeys and lush forest to start, followed by alpine landscapes and giant boulders, and glaciers the last day!   What a treat for the senses.  I will always remember the snow-capped Kibo peak shimmering against the blue sky.

The experience would have not been the same without the Tusker team.  Not only was the food spectacular, plentiful and always warm; the tents always raised and waiting for us; and the guiding informative and educational…but, most importantly we were always treated and greeted with a smile.  From the porters to the guides, everyone was extremely concerned with making us feel safe, welcome and at home.  And most importantly, we had fun! We laughed and struggled, all together with our Tusker team.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was an amazing experience.  My favourite day was summit day.  Despite the extreme fatigue and headache I experienced that day; reaching the top I felt a tremendous sense of privilege and pride to be able to have been part of it.  It is not something everyone gets to do – and to be able to share in the experience with such great individuals – Canadian and Tanzanian –made me feel very fortunate.

I walked away feeling a great sense of accomplishment, not only because I reached the summit – but because I had fun doing it.  I enjoyed every day and every moment on the mountain.   I was inspired by its beauty, the strength of my teammates and the spirit of the Tanzanian Tusker team.  It was truly the experience of a lifetime…and I am so glad I did it with CARE.

Would I do it again?  Yes, in a heartbeat.  What would I do differently?  I would sleep in the crater.

Christina climbed with the CARE Canada team in late January 2012.

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