In late December, a team of young cadets from the Royal Military College in Canada traveled to Africa, where they had quite an experience. The team went there to climb Kilimanjaro, with the hopes of raising $20,000 for a new “Summit Scholarship” that would allow a former child solider from Africa to attend university in Canada. While any Kili climb is an adventure in and of itself, that was just the tip of the iceberg for what they found on their journey through the continent.
You can read the long and detailed, yet very interesting, trip report by clicking here. It has some great insights into climbing Kili, which will definitely be appreciated by anyone considering a climb of their own, but also discusses the other aspects of the cadets’ journey through Africa as well. For instance, upon their arrival to Nairobi, Kenya they spent the first couple of days visiting local hospitals and slums and getting an education on what life in Africa is truly like. It was an eye-opening experience for the young men and women on the trip. They also had an opportunity to interact with African wildlife, visiting rehabilitation centers for elephants, giraffes, and other creatures.
After getting their legs back under them, and acclimatizing to the sights and sounds of Africa, it was time to move on to Tanzania and Kilimanjaro, which they climbed along the Umbwe route. As I mentioned above, they go into good detail on their climb, sharing all kinds of experience from the trail, which was a focal point of their visit. Their African adventure wasn’t over after a successful summit however, as they then moved on to Rwanda, where they spent a week learning about the culture and history there, including the horrible genocide that went down in the 1994. Some of the team even ventured into Volcanoes National Park, where they had the opportunity to interact with the famed mountain gorillas that live there.
The story is such a good one, as I can tell from reading about the cadets’ experiences that they fell in love with Africa as much as I have. It is a complex, wonderful place, that once it gets into your heart, it is hard to shake. Their experiences were not the norm for many travelers, which makes it all the more interesting to read. It seems pretty clear that this group of young people didn’t come home unchanged by their travels. This sounds like it was an amazing journey and one that I would have loved to have been a part of.
Thanks to John Matlock for sending me this story a few days back.