Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Departing for Tanzania!

And...I’m off!

Where to, you may be wondering. Well, for those of you who don’t know (and let’s face it, I’ve been talking about it non-stop for a while now), I am leaving for three weeks to participate in and cover a medical and educational mission to Tanzania in Africa.

In March 2013, I signed on as the social media/web manager for a non-profit, Hope 2 Others. Since then, I have added Public Relations Director and Fundraising Coordinator to the list. Since I started volunteering, Hope 2 Others Founder Karen Klemp has talked about having me come on a trip. Long story short, I have been planning this trip for 15 months now.

The day is finally here. I am actually typing this from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill. It has been a crazy and hectic whirlwind between trying to write about 10 stories in advance for my newspaper (in addition to the regular workload) in the past two and a half weeks; helping kick off the Climb for a Cause fundraiser; finding time with my boyfriend; and making sure I have everything I need and getting it packed. The past 72 hours have been crazy, with my working basically around the clock to get everything together.

And yet, a few things got left behind. My contact case, for one; my razor; and the special freeze-proof water bottle that I purchased yesterday for my ascent up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Oh well, life goes on. I’ll improvise. The important this is I have all my medications, right? Check. 

I’m currently waiting to board. We got through in about an hour, and I have a 3 hour wait. But since airlines are hell-bent on milking every last cent out of their patrons, you won’t be reading this until after the fact. I just can’t bring myself to pay $5 for internet for 90 minutes. No free WI-FI for you, our paying customers!

I am a little concerned that my carry-on will be a little too big. My climbing backpack is serving as my carry-on, and with my dad’s sleeping bag inside, it is a little...bulgy. When in doubt, smoosh it down! Right? Right?! I am also allowed a purse, and purple Thirty-One purse will have to do. It is more like a tote bag, but women need our space. Keep your fingers crossed everything goes off without a hitch. 

Jane Krogstad and I, on the first plane to Istanbul.

There is a group of 28 on our flight headed for Kenya to build a church. Right now, some of the female members of the group are doing what I assume is either yoga, a dance routine or perhaps some post-supper stretch near the gate. 

I’ve been a little cranky today (lack of sleep will do that to a person), but am really excited to make my first (and hopefully not last) trip to Africa. Climbing the Roof of Africa will be an adventure, and I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me on this trip. 

My parents have been incredibly supportive and have sponsored a portion of my trip and also helped provide me with climbing gear and clothes. My grandparents on my mother’s side and my Aunt Joan and Uncle Ned have also been kind enough to donate to my trip, and I have received close to $400 in sponsorships for my climb. That is amazing! Every cent will be used to bring health, healing and hope to the people of Tanzania through the building of the first Hope 2 Others Medical Center in Kisongo, Tanzania!

In a matter of a few hours, I will be lifting up, up, up into the air for the first leg of my 18-hour journey. It looks like it will be about 10 hours from Chicago to Istanbul, Turkey (also an amazing city!), and from there another 8 hours to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania! I will be touching down in Tanzania around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, June 25. For those of you back in the states, that will be approximately 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24.

Up, up, and Tanzania!

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