Almost every day we hear about the need to help other people and to do something in the spirit of serving other people.
Patricia Mabviko Musanhu
New Ground with This, if I may call it a “calling” seems to be stronger in some people compared to others.
Consequently, there are people whose focus in their day to day life is not on themselves but rather on other people and they will do anything to make sure that there are contributing to the positive transformation of other people’s lives.
One of these people is Chipo Muzorewa who risked her life to climb Mount Kilimanjaro so that she could raise funds to help the underprivileged.
Chipo did her high school education in Kenya and from her school, which was 40 kilometres from Nairobi, could see the ice capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
From looking at the mountain almost every day, Chipo developed a desire to climb it one day. This would happen 25 years from this time.
“I’ve always had a desire to help the underprivileged and in July 2002, an opportunity presented itself that strengthened my resolve to go up Mount Kilimanjaro.”
Chipo was invited to attend a rotary club meeting as a visitor. While at this meeting, she realised that she could achieve her dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro through the rotary and therefore registered to become a full member of the rotary club of Avondale in November 2002.
The political and economic challenges that ensued in Zimbabwe prevented her from pursuing her mission.
However in 2012, she took advantage of another opportunity and volunteered to be part of the organising and co-ordinating committee of the Africa Conference on Volunteer Action for Peace and Development.
This was after she had studied for a Master of Religious Education with a concentration in interreligious peace building in the United States.
One of the reasons Chipo volunteered to participate in this conference was because of the opportunity it would give her to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. After the conference Chipo became part of a 10-member group, who volunteered and began preparations to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
“There are physical and emotional challenges to climbing the mountain,” said Chipo.
“When I stood in front of Mount Kilimanjaro, I looked at it and realised that I had two options. One was to walk away, because there is a warning on the mountain that says one can die from climbing the mountain due to health risks caused mainly by altitude.
The other option was to stay focused on my mission inspite of this seemingly huge challenge that stood before me,” she added.
Although is it important to train and exercise in preparation for the climb, your body can still be affected badly by altitude and when that happens, one must immediately go back to a lower altitude.
It is therefore important that mentally, one prepares themselves for whatever consequences that may arise.
On July 7 2012, Chipo and her group of nine began tracking up Mount Kilimanjaro.
She admits that there were times when tracking up the mountain was very difficult not only because of altitude but also due to physical pain and exhaustion. “Just to cover a few kilometres up the mountain takes a very long time as you have to meander around using specific routes,” she said.
Chipo recalls, for example, that it took eight hours to climb from the base that is just below the summit, known as Kibo Base Camp, to the summit of the mountain. Out of the 10 people in her group which comprised seven males and three females, four people got very sick experiencing severe headaches and nausea.
Chipo experienced a couple of mild headaches but managed to shake this off. She also remembers a time when she woke up one morning and was having difficulties breathing, which is one of the known symptoms of the physical exertion.
Fortunately, none of these stopped her from her goal to reach the summit in order to accomplish her mission.
Five days later, on July 11 2012 at 13:00hrs Chipo and her group reached the highest peak of Kilimanjaro, known as Uhuru Peak, having climbed 5 895 metres high.
She was subsequently able to raise the funds, 75% of which went to the Rotary Club of Avondale, in Zimbabwe and the remaining 25% to an organisation called United Generation based in Kenya.
“I wake up every morning knowing that my mission is to improve the lives of others and to serve others. I feel motivated by my late nephew Eugene Muzorewa who was very dear to me and somehow I have this enthusiasm and excitement and a knowing that there is a bigger plan for my life to accomplish this mission.”
Patricia Mabviko Musanhu is a Company Director/Producer at Black and White Media Productions. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org