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With a Little Help from Our Friends
A father and son turned a personal goal into an opportunity to support children with cancer
The idea was conceived over a decade ago and this August,
Peter Makhari, a past president of the Rotary Club of Bedfordiew (D9400), got to
fulfil his dream. He conquered Kilimanjaro!
Previously when PP Peter had wanted to climb the mountain,
he was let down by people who were not as committed to the adventure as he was.
However, enough was enough and in August 2016, he decided he would conquer
Kilimanjaro, even if he had to do it alone!
PP Peter discussed his goal with his family in February 2017
and without even thinking, his son, Lufuno, said he was going with him! “I think my
eldest son, Tshifhiwa, would have joined us as well but they were expecting a
baby during the period we planned to be away.”
Two weeks before PP Peter and Lufuno were due to depart for
Tanzania, he told his fellow Rotarians of his impending adventure.
“Uhuru Peak is 5895 metres above sea level. Jeremy Webb, one
of the senior Rotarians, stood up and pledged one cent for every metre that I
climbed.” In true Rotary spirit, one Rotarian after another rose to the
occasion and pledged even more per metre climbed.
“Because of the power of social media, friends of Rotary
also heard about it and made pledges,” said PP Peter. The highest pledge was
made by Jurgens Bekker of Jurgens Bekker Attorneys.
PP Peter and Lufuno left for Moshi, via Nairobi, on Friday
18 August. After breakfast the following morning, they left the bed and breakfast
in Moshi drove for about two hours to Machame gate. They began their assent,
via the Machame route, at 11.30 that morning.
“I made a commitment to the club that I’ll account for
everyday of our climb until we reached Uhuru. The internet connectivity was
intermittent and although some of my communication and photos did go through,
it was at a snail’s pace.”
The pair joined a group of climbers who would summit the
mountain together. It took five days to reach Barafu Camp (also referred to as
base camp). “We arrived at about 5pm and started preparing our gear and getting
ready for the summit. We had six and a half hours rest and at about 11.20pm, we
assembled at the ‘dining hall’ for tea and biscuits.” About ten minutes later,
the pair started shuffling through the very cold and windy night with their
“For many of us if not all of us, the seven-hour climb to
Stella point was mentally and physically the most challenging on the route.
This is where the mind games began.
“I guess all the preparations and the training was for this
last leg of the climb,” said PP Peter.
“At Stella Point (5739 metres) we stopped for a short rest.
The weather was great and we were rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise we
are ever likely to see.
“From Stella Point we encountered light snow throughout our
two-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. We did not stay long on the summit, about 20
minutes, because it was freezing cold. We quickly took photos and started
walking back to base camp.”
It took the team another three hours to reach the base camp
where they collected their belongings and headed to a camp three hours away.
“For this last leg we were on our feet for 15 hours,” recalled PP Peter.
After a well-deserved breakfast on the morning of 25 August
the team started off for Mweka gate where they arrived six hours later. After
signing out at the reception, “the guides took us to a restaurant nearby for a
big celebration lunch and golden certificates were given to all of us,” said PP
After arriving back in South Africa, the pledges were
collected and an amount of R13 160 was raised. Personal contributions from PP
Peter and his family will bring the collection to a total to R15 000 that will
be donated to CHOC (the Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa). He will
hand over the donation at a presentation where he will talk about his
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