Africa Thriving has started off 2019 by climbing to the top of Africa. We rang in the new year at Marangu Hotel in Tanzania, near the main gate of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. On New Years Day we began our climb up the 4th highest mountain in the world. The Marangu route that we chose had a 60% success rate so we knew we were in for a huge challenge. We are thrilled to report that all six members of our team successfully made it to Uhuru Peak summit (19,431 ft) on January 5th.
The vision for the climb was sparked on our previous trip in August when the mountain was showing her majestic beauty every day while we were serving the communities of southern Kenya. All six of our team members did not have any mountain climbing experience but we were all dedicated to climb the mountain to raise awareness for the work that Africa Thriving is doing to bring food, water and Bibles to communities in Africa that don’t have access to these life essentials. The climb was symbolic of our vision for lifting suffering communities up from the massive challenges so they can thrive for generations to come. Our Kenyan Director for Africa Thriving also climbed the mountain with us which created the perfect opportunity for us to pour into our leaders for many years to come.
The climb was more of a spiritual journey than it was a physical journey. We all read Everybody Always by Bob Goff during our trek and spent countless hours in prayer and meditation as we were climbing the worlds highest free standing mountain. The verse in Matthew 17:20 where Jesus talks about faith as small as a mustard seed that can move mountains became very real to all of us in a powerful way. The climb was the perfect preparation for the work that we would do on the 2nd week of our trip.
On January 7th we began our work in Southern Kenya. We hosted a leadership training for all the teachers and leaders from Risa Primary School. A total of 25 teachers, leaders and elders from the community gathered at Kibo lodge for a day of enrichment and preparation for the year ahead. The following day we conducted a hydrogeological survey for drilling a well at Risa and at a property that has been donated to Africa Thriving. The well at Risa will serve the school and the surrounding area while the well at the Africa Thriving property also serves the local community and is the future site of Saroni Lodge for all of our volunteers. The meaning of the Maasai word Saroni is “the one who brings help”. It will be the well that keeps on giving since our volunteers are on mission to fulfill the vision of Africa Thriving.
On January 9th we delivered over a ton of food and 10,000 liters of drinking water to Risa Primary School. The supplies will feed over 500 children enrolled in the school 2 meals a day for 6 weeks. Our Kenyan leaders coordinate the deliveries while we are not in the country but it is extra special for the kids to see people from the other side of the world that have made this relationship flourish.
On our last day in the Southern Kenya region we visited Samai Primary School for the first time. Samai is a community that is very far from any paved roads and is about as rural as you can get. We met with the school leaders and also had a meeting with the elders of the community. We are ready to expand the reach of Africa Thriving into this very beautiful and needy community. The same faith that took us up the mountain did incredible things to share the love of Jesus in East Africa.