With the exception of my daughter, most of my family and friends had concerns when I told them of my invitation to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. All concerns were valid. The biggest concern was also mine – do I have the time to train and the courage to raise money? Thinking of raising money resulted in a pit in my stomach and I’m notorious for taking on too much and being overly optimistic with my time.
The bigger question I needed to spend time thinking about was the why of the climb. The purpose of the climb for this invitation was not just to climb a high mountain – it was to hike in solidarity for women who have survived gender based violence and to offer prayers both theirs and ours.
The purpose was advocacy for women in extreme conflict zones and for funds for programs to protect and support them. The vision of the climb was bigger than checking a box off a bucket list. It was joining in the spiritual and physical and emotional battle that is waging against millions of women who are living in extreme conflict areas – specifically DR Congo, South Sudan, and Syria/Iraq.
This would be consuming and I would have to get not just my body ready, but my mind and spirit ready as well. I began to find myself exercising with this purpose in mind and began to see the incredible opportunity to do something that just might help a problem I thought was too big to engage in. This would take courage.
I wasn’t sure I had what it would take, but for my daughter’s sake and for the simply act of doing what I can, I said, “Yes.”