Welcome to the new RAG Blog for HC Leeds. I’m Vikki, the Communications Coordinator for RAG, and I’ll be giving you an insight to what goes on in one of the biggest societies at Leeds Uni.
I first got involved with RAG by taking part in one of their Challenges; the Kilimanjaro Climb. It’s in aid of Childreach International, and each participant raises a staggering £2450, so fundraising process itself was a challenge, let alone the climb!
I hadn’t really thought about how I was going to raise the money, so when semester two came around and I had raised just a 1/5 of the target, I was really sweating it. Most of my friends and family had donated so I really needed to get my act together. I decided to host an auction, and managed to collect prizes, ranging from days out to wildlife centres, SONY products to a week at a holiday home. I catered for it myself to reduce the cost, so there were tears, arguments and last minute “OMG we need the emergency chicken!” But thankfully the evening was a success, raising over £1600.
When departure day finally came, we all made our way to Heathrow in our yellow Childreach International tops. There were lots of nervous and excited introductions as we weren’t really sure what to expect. After an eight hour flight we made it to Nairobi.
It was another six hours on a bus until we made it to Moshi, but the scenery on the way was amazing! None of us expected to be casually waved to by Maasai tribesman as we sped past. On our first day in Moshi, we visited one of the schools that benefits from the money Childreach raises. After a precarious off road journey we arrived and were greeted by the head mistress, who hugged each one of us saying, “Hello Daughter” and “Welcome Son”.
The trek was truly spectacular, and at the same time, the cruellest thing I have ever done to my body! From day one the friendships begin to form, and by day two, the family. Despite the beautiful scenery and exhausting trek, there was one thing we all wanted to know; so… what’s the toilet situation? When really, the answer was all around us. Literally. It’s silly things like this and the unforgiving nature of the mountain that broke down all kinds of barriers.
The support throughout the week was second to none; especially the Sherpas who carried our luggage, tents, food, and came to our tents at 6:00am in the freezing cold to bring us a hot drink. The guides, one actually carried me down Lava Tower when my fear of heights was confirmed! It’s also from each other, whether it was sharing snacks, medication or hugs.
On the day of the summit, we left at 1:30am (after an 8 hour trek that day). We were tired, anxious but excited to get started. I hadn’t suffered any setbacks for the entirety of the climb, but on the last day I met my match. I made it to the top, and after an exhausting, doubt-ridden, trek, at the top I found self-actualisation. And at the bottom? A shower!