Today we have the pleasure of a guest post from Mary. She shares her story here:
Meet Mary: My name is Mary Saugstad. I am a Canadian, an RN, a climber, a naturalist, a wife, a volunteer, a traveler and a humanitarian. For the first time in my life all these labels that ‘I am,’ will all be intertwined in an adventure of a lifetime in Africa! I will be climbing with my husband throughout Africa, with a particular goal of climbing to the top of Mt. Kenya in an effort to raise awareness of the beauty of Kenyan mountain culture and humanitarian relief needs in Kenya.
The Back-Story: We decided to climb Mt. Kenya after spending a few months in Nepal trekking through the beautiful Himalayas and spending 2 months volunteering with Porters’ Protection. After our trip we said to each other that Africa is next … Mt. Kenya will be our goal. So this adventure has been brewing in our heads for the last six years. On a personal level, I have always valued volunteerism in any community and made a commitment to myself that I will volunteer my time and my resources on every travelling adventure that I embark on. One of my major driving ambitions to becoming a nurse is to use my nursing skills in promoting health around the world.
My particular connection with Hope Matters International began in 2012. I shared my passion for community health in Africa to my nursing community health practicum instructor Denise Beaupre, who has been involved in several community health initiatives in Africa. We met for coffee a few times and after much discussion she referred me to Michelle Kiprop, RN, MSN, FNP. And now a little idea of mine will spring into fruition in December, when I will finally get to meet Michelle in person in Kipkaren, Kenya where I will volunteer as an RN alongside Michelle.
The Cause: My husband, Don, and I decided that it would be a neat idea to add value to our climb by trying to raise funds for Hope Matters International. This initiative of ours is in hopes of raising awareness of the beauty of mountain culture in Kenya, and raise awareness to the importance of community involvement in the areas that we travel to. We believe that as members of this wonderful world we have the duty to share our resources to help build communities. We hope to raise $17,057 for Hope Matters International to help fund Michelle’s medical clinic initiative in Kenya.
Details of the Climb: 17,057 is the number of feet of Mt. Kenya. This is equivalent to 5199 metres. We will likely hire porters and perhaps cooks, and maybe a guide. My husband is an expert mountaineer having climbed several mountains all over the world for the last 20 years. I started climbing in 2005. We have been training for this climb all summer by climbing in our local crags in Squamish, BC and summiting a few mountains the last two years, including Squamish’s Stewamus Chief, a 700m granite monolith. We will also train in Cape Town climbing Table Mountain and several other crags in Africa as well as trekking through various parts of Africa including Drakensburg, in Botswana and perhaps Namibia from November until the start of our climb up Mt. Kenya around November 30/December 1. Likely, the climb will take about 1 week including trekking to base camp and acclimatization. We are going to try to attempt the Normal Route to the top of Mt. Kenya which is a 5.8 route. The actual climb itself is about 400 metres, which equates to about 20 pitches of climbing.
The Goal: So far we have raised approximately $1000 by simply sharing our objectives to family and friends. When we get back from our trip we will organize two film nights: one in Squamish and one in Vancouver to share our adventure, raise awareness of Michelle’s health initiative and hopefully raise funds. We will not stop until we get to the $17,057. We are now only two and half weeks away from embarking on our adventure of a lifetime and truly look forward to it. We feel so fortunate to have the health and the means to be able to go on this trip. I truly look forward to volunteering with Michelle and giving back to a community that I know will give so much to me and to my husband.
How You Can Help: Donations can be made in honor of my climb by clicking here to make an online payment. Or if you would like to send a check you can make it out to “Hope Matters International” and mail to P.O. Box 9293, Alta Loma, CA 91701. Please include a note in your envelope or with your electronic donation designating that the donation is in honor of Mary’s climb.
Thank you for reading this blog. And thank you to all my family and friends who have so far supported this initiative.
Mary Saugstad, RN