Those of us who have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro know that the porters were the heart and soul of our experience. They guided us, fed us, and prepared our shelter each night. They caught us when we stumbled, lent a needed hand so we could go higher, and raised their voices in song to celebrate our journey. For the last 15 years, up to 20 repeat porters have been dedicated to Pack Paddle Ski and Journeys of Inspiration trips, helping hundreds of people have the experience of a lifetime. Many climbers used their experience to raise money for those in need.
Now it is time for us to raise our voices and return the favor- our porter friends are in need. Many of these porters are getting older, can no longer make the climb, and cannot do the only good paying job occasionally offered in town for $5 per day. These exceptionally hard working, joyful, and usually uneducated local people are in need of resources to live and support their children in school. They usually rent a room without water or electricity for about $15 per month for the whole family to live in. They cook outside on the shared patio using local charcoal in a makeshift stove made from cans.
Rick and Yusuf are retiring from climbing Kili, but not from their passion to help those that helped them. The intent of our building project is to start giving some of these well-deserving families a simple, comfortable home of their own. A house will provide more than just a place to live. It will free up the rent money for other expenses such as electricity and schooling. This would allow for lights, and lights would allow their children to study and do schoolwork they may not otherwise have time to do. The houses are built using local labor and masons, and we are assisting in part of the construction and funding. Each family is asked to contribute labor and some funds toward the house.
In 2016 the land had been bought and construction began on 2 houses. A well was dug and a septic system dug. Juma, one of the porters who gets a house, was hired as a laborer. Aziza and her young son get the other. Work continues. Electricity needs to have the infrastructure and funds need to be raised to build the next two houses on the land.
In addition 1000 trees were planted in the community, a city wide garbage clean up was executed among other projects.
In 2018 we will be building the next 2 houses, developing a computer class to sustain a local, grassroots community development program, establishing a women’s guide training, offering English skills, writing a book by the elders among other projects.
Each year we have presence in the village to assist the porters with projects they generate.
We need to raise about $20,000 more for land, infra structure and buildings. All money collected is tax deductible and 100% of those contributions go toward the building of the homes. There are many ways to help:
This month it was very exciting as the septic which was hand dug (took a few months) had water from the well pumped into it to test. Huge, huge deal. No other houses in the area have septic. This hygienic addition to the project helps protect the health of the families living on the land. […]