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Climbing Kilimanjaro

My colleague Jaka Magoma recently climbed Kilimanjaro with a group of people who raised money for Concern Worldwide’s work in Tanzania. Here is Jaka’s moving account of his experiences.

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In June this year I saw snow for the first time. It was on top of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. My fellow climbers were raising money to change the lives of people in my country, Tanzania. 

The climb was challenging, even for me, a healthy Tanzanian who was born in the mountains. The last night was hard, and some of the climbers weren’t able to finish. I could feel the extreme altitude – 5,895 metres – in my body and in my brain. But the importance of what we were doing kept me going higher into the clouds and gave me more drive. 

New sense of purpose

I’ve been a Concern programme manager for many years, but my experience of climbing Kilimanjaro made me realise just how important my job is. It’s given me a new sense of purpose and responsibility. We are entrusted with money, earned by regular working people. They give money to Concern in good faith. And we must always prove that we’re making a difference. 

Making a difference

Halfway up, near the Shira Plateau, I gave a speech to help the climbers understand how people in Tanzania struggle to meet even their most basic needs. The money the climbers raised will give access to clean water, improved toilets and hygiene. It will support land ownership for all and increase production for small-scale farmers.

Changing lives

Our dreams to climb Kilimanjaro weren’t just about wanting an adventure, but about changing lives. When we reached the summit and put our banner up, we were emotional. 

It was a truly humbling experience to spend time with so many dedicated people. So, on behalf of Concern, I’d like to thank all my fellow climbers for supporting our work. Without you, we would not be able to make this difference.