This summer I travelled to Moshi and Zanzibar in Tanzania with the charity Childreach International along with a group of other university students. It was a thrilling experience, meeting so many new people as well as immersing myself and learning about the culture in Tanzania, from the language to the singing and dancing that they love doing there to express themselves. It was an experience that I will never let slip from memory.
The main purpose of the trip was to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and to visit previously poverty stricken areas which have been improved due to the charity Childreach International. Visiting the deaf school was both pleasant and sad. Children living in the area already have a difficult chance to succeed in life as they have to battle disease, malnourishment, illiteracy and poverty. However, if you are a child with a disability you’re casted out from your family and seen as having a life with no hope. The school I visited gives these disabled children a chance to get an education and learn other skills like sowing and farming in order to prove their parents and society wrong and have a chance to succeed in life as well. But the best thing I saw there was that it was next to impossible to capture a moment where the children or teachers were not smiling or laughing. A real testament to their courage and determination.
Apart from being nervous as I didn’t know any of my group members, I honestly wasn’t really worried about anything before I left. Perhaps I just didn’t think about the trip beforehand too much. But I did learn some stuff when I got there. The pressure that the altitude puts your body under can be quite intense. When I was climbing Kilimanjaro particularly when we were around 4500 metres and above, your body really starts to feel it when you exert a little more force than normal in any of your steps. I of course have heard of altitude sickness, but as I have never really experienced it before I didn’t think too much of it. Climbing Kilimanjaro has definitely changed my perspective of this. I also don’t think I will ever consume the same amount of soup, potatoes and rice that I did in six days, ever in my life again.
The whole trip was an unforgettable experience and something which I am so happy I did and am very grateful for getting the chance to do it. The locals have an envious amount of positive energy within them. No problem seems to faze them and they are ultimately grateful for absolutely everything they have. Coming back to climbing mountains, who knows after this maybe with enough money I might be able to climb Everest?