This past weekend I delivered my fundraising event as an Event Planner at an NGO. Just typing that sentence sends goosebumps down my spine. Not only was this a dream a few years ago, it is everything I prayed for…Fundraising, Event Planner and working for an NGO.
The event was a ladies hike lead by the renowned Fatima Sait (follow her amazing blog Fats on a Mountain) The group consisted of 26 ladies and we started bright and early on Sunday morning. The initiative for the fundraiser was the water crisis in Cape Town. All funds raised will be going towards installing a well point at a location yet to be established. Once we’ve completed this well point, I intend to do further fundraising to install a filtration system at the same location. Filtration systems can cost anything between R30 000 and R100 000. This is not going to be an easy task, but, I believe with the right frame of mind, correct events and amazing people, nothing is impossible.
We hiked up to the 5 dams that are situated on the Table Mountain National Park. For many of the women, this was a first time experience. I was a bit stressed that the route might be too hard for some, but I have so far only received messages of thanks and gratitude for the beautiful morning. We had two ladies who turned around early into the hike as they felt they were not fit enough to continue. This was a very brave decision, as sometimes we tend to believe that we will conquer the mountains, when in fact, the mountains are so much more mightier than we are.
The hike was completed in our allocated six hours and was nothing short of amazing. I have met some phenomenal women during the planning and executing of this event that I would not have met on any other occasion.
We live in a time where asking for help is almost not acceptable in society. It is frowned upon and is seen as a sign of weakness. No matter how we might be struggling inside or just trying to keep up with daily demands, we need to face the world as if we have everything under control and we’re coping with all of life’s pressures.
The guides and fellow trekkers has played such a huge role in the success of my climb, and looking back, I know that I would not have reached my goals had it not been for them.
We were allowed to be vulnerable, weak and dependant, and we were there to assist each other. Our guides became our teachers, they monitored us and in some cases even fed us to ensure that we don’t burn out and that we’re able to continue our trek.
What I’ve learned on the mountain, through this experience is, that it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to ask for help. We’re not superheroes. In order for us to be the best versions of ourselves, we need the help of others. We can only give the best of ourselves if we’re in our best state of mind, body and spirit.
Our trek started on 4 August. The morning before setting off was the last hot shower we would have, and the last buffet breakfast we could pick from until we returned on the 9 August, coinciding with Womens Day, a public holiday in South Africa.
By the first night, reality set in for me when I had to go to bed without my usual bath, cleaning myself as best I could with just wet wipes. After supper I retired to our bunk beds, crept into my sleeping bag and prayed for sleep to come. I knew that waking up to use the loo was inevitable after drinking about 2 liters of water for the day. The only problem with that is the loo is outside the hut, about 40m away….
Every comfort that is known to me, is no longer there. I don’t have my comfortable bed with loads of cushions. There no bathrooms to just stroll into and do your thing. My fridge to open up whenever I feel like and scan it’s contents is very far from where I am. Lengthy meal plan discussions are none existent. Selecting the days clothes from a closet full has been scaled down to a 15 kg duffel bag. Viewing posts on social media is such a thing of the past.
I realise that if I don’t wrap my head around all of this real quick, I am just going to be giving myself a difficult time. I already know that none of this is permanent, so all I have to now do is be grateful for what I do have. I might not have what I want, but I have everything that I need.
We have enough drinking water. Nutritional meals. A place to lay our heads. And not to mention loads of tea!
But what really stood out for me was that I was surrounded constantly with people and nature . Now I don’t normally do well with large groups of people, but I think I did pretty well with what has now become new family, from all walks of life, different journeys, all coming together for the same cause.
As for the nature part? I was able to take in as much as I could. There were no other commitments to rush off to….Just taking in all of what God has blessed us with.
It wasn’t until we got off the mountain when it all became clear to me…It really isn’t what you have in life. It’s who you have in your life and what you surround yourself with. I was privileged to have spent my once in a lifetime journey with amazing human beings. Had it not been so, the entire trip could have turned out to be a complete disaster. I now have new appreciation for the people closest to me…after all, it is them who makes our lives a little more beautiful.
Three weeks ago today, I summited the highest free standing mountain in the world, “The Roof of Africa” Mount Kilimanjaro, 5898m above mean sea level.
This was by far, one of the most memorable days of my life, as this was not just a childhood dream, but I also got to raise funds for charity.
After six months of training, the time finally arrived for us to put ourselves through the ultimate physical and mental challenge. I have discovered things about myself on that mountain that I would never have learned in any classroom or book. The lessons I have learned will stay with me forever.
I will be doing a series of #lessonslearned in the days to follow.
Rough roads, pain, laughter, heartache, cold, discomfort…..Like everything in life, and life itself, it is just temporary. Nothing lasts forever. I have adopted this as my mantra when I arrived at the base of the mountain. Why? Because I knew that it’s not going to be smooth sailing. I knew that I was going to be removed from every comfort known to me for the next six days. By remembering and constantly reminding myself that whatever I feel or what I’m experiencing is just temporary, I was able to keep going, and able to push myself through what is now officially known as the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Shortly after I’ve started hiking, I’ve heard about the five dams on Table Mountain and I made it my mission to go and discover these dams. So this past long weekend, Mr M suggested that we go on a small adventure. I could obviously not contain my excitement and was up at 5 am to start our 6 am hike.
We started out at Constantia Nek and went along with the jeep track. The sunrise from half way up the mountain was incredible.
The first dam we got to was De Villiers dam. When we arrived at this dam, it is evident that we’re experiencing water shortages as you can literally see what used to be the bottom of the dam.
Just after passing the Overseer’s Cottage (definitely on my list of things to do) we got to the Alexandra dam.
Shortly after is the Victoria dam. By this time, you notice how the dams are increasing in size and volume.
The fourth dam is by far my favourite dam and that’s the Woodhead dam. The sight of this dam was simply breathtaking. When you’re here, it’s hard to believe that you’re actually on top of a mountain. You dont’ realise that you’re approximately 750m above sea level.
Right next to the Woodhead dam is the largest, fullest dam, Hely Hutchinson. The overflow from this dam flows into the Woodhead dam. With the shortage of rain, the Hely Hutchinson barely has an overflow. I cannot wait to see what the dams look like when they’re filled to capacity.
This has by far been one of my best hikes ever. The views were absolutely beautiful and cannot wait to share it with our Kilimanjaro training team.
It was a random day in August 2014 after a short trip to Cape Town, when I sat at my desk and decided that I needed to do something out of the ordinary. It must have been my short love affair with Table Mountain that inspired me to do some research on Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa.
It was then that I wrote down my plan to trek Kilimanjaro in 2017.
At this point, I must have hiked about twice only in my life and really didn’t make any further effort. Let’s just say, the idea died almost as soon as it was born. Continue reading →
I remember seeing pictures of this spot when I first started out hiking. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago whilst training with Kilimanjaro team that I found myself there. I was delighted to have found it, but I was a little disappointed that Mr wasn’t with me to have experienced it together. I promised him however, that he will get a personalized tour. Happy Hiking
I absolutely love sunsets! It’s the most mesmerizing time of day and the Cape is not short of beautiful sunsets. It gives you that assurance that everything has a place and time, like the sun came up earlier, it will set, and simply rise again.
I have, however, started to appreciate sunrises more. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, when I realised that not only do I have brilliant sunset views from my home, but if up early enough, majestic sunrises as well.
The featured image was captured on my hike the past Sunday, along the Pipetrack just after sunrise. I’ve been lucky to have captured some magical moments on the weekly training hikes.
I’ve discovered so much about myself after moving to Cape Town, that it sometimes feels like I’ve been living someone else’s life all along. I’ve always believed myself to be an extrovert, but on my journey to self discovery, I realised that I truly am an introvert and quite happy to be one.
Making new friends or just meeting new people has always been a daunting task for me. I’ve spent a fair amount of value time wrapped up in my own insecurities and looking back now, I can almost see all the missed opportunities I’ve had, if I had just believed a little more in myself. Nevertheless, rather now than never right? Back to meeting new people….I have met some amazing people on my hikes and in our hiking group. I have been surprised as to how easy it is to get to know new people once you’re truly comfortable in your own skin. The greatest thing about getting to know people is that you rediscover so much about yourself. Happy Hiking