Raising funds for the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital - Cape Town, South Africa

In 2009 my young grandson, Tristan, suffered burns to his upper body and was treated in the phenomenal Burns Unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. It was an extremely traumatising experience for us all and introduced us to the reality faced by so many sick children and their families who have to deal with this kind of trauma.

We are so grateful for the wonderful care and support Tristan received at the Hospital from doctors and medical staff that we decided, as a family, that it would be fitting for us to be able to give back in some way. I’ve therefore committed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in July 2010 and will attempt to raise much needed funds for the Hospital.

100% of money I raise will be allocated directly to upgrade the Burns Unit - every cent donated to the Hospital Trust will directly benefit the Hospital.

Ultimately, the purpose of this project is to raise funds for an extremely deserving cause. I have given a personal guarantee to match the amount I must raise in sponsorships in the form of financial donations to the Trust.

I am very excited about being able to make a difference and sincerely hope you will be able to come on board with me in helping to get other sick children back home where they belong!

This is how you can get involved....


If you have a skill that you would like to 'donate' instead of money, this slot is for you.

I will create an event around what you have to offer and 100% of what people pay to attend will be donated to the hospital.

The hair spa day held in March at the Wayne.com salon at the One and Only Hotel is an example of such an event. We were able to raise R5250 on that day.


Kilimanjaro is 5895m high. You can decide to pledge a certain amount per meter that I climb. You can email your pledges to me at: ferreira@netpoint.co.za OR you can download a pledge page from the section on the right of this page and fax it to me.

If you can't pledge yourself, how about getting your company to pledge and to perhaps even challenge other companies to match or better their pledge!!


On the right hand side of the blog, near the top, there is a section that includes a direct link to the hospital's website.

Read all the directions before clicking on the link, it is important for the hospital to be able to allocate your donation correctly.

The hospital trust will issue a tax certificate for any donation over R100, so that's an extra bonus for both individuals and companies!


I am currently collecting goods to offer on an auction to be held later this year - anything that we can turn into money is welcome!

Just to give you a sample of some of the things we have at this stage: three TOP NOTCH bottles of South African wines, compliments of Janet Malherbe, and five signed copies of a book written by the adventurer and master fundraiser David Grier!

For more info on David: http://www.davidgrier.co.za/

I'd love to be able to offer nights away at wonderful places in our country, romantic dinners at special restaurants etc. So if you have any connections or have something that you can offer yourself, I'd love to hear from you!

Just to make double sure you have my contact details - here it is again: ferreira@netpoint.co.za

Tristan enjoying being a healthy, happy little boy!

my blog entries

Will try and update on a regular basis!! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My new blog

I'm delighted to say that the Red Cross Children's Hospital have reached their target and construction of the new burns unit is on track!! Thank you so much once again for joining me on this incredible journey!

As for me, my new passion, walking the Camino de Santiagio pilgrimage walk in Spain in July 2012 is slowly but surely becoming a reality - almost two years before the actual walk!

I am blogging furiously and this week my new blog was feautured on a Travel Blog site - my nano moment in the sun!

Anyway, I can't wait to put my backpack on my back and head off on my next adventure - come and join me - you'll find me at http://www.caminosantiago2012.blogspot.com/.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Winding down...

Slowly but surely my Kili 2010 adventure is busy winding down. I am still hoping to follow up shortly with the story of the little boy I met at the hospital, I'm just awaiting the necessary permission to continue.

As for the fundraising - we'll have a total amount soon, we are still waiting for one or two companies who have committed to donate.

We've had wonderful press coverage of the project and I'd like to thank the Table Talk, the Tygerburger and the Cape Argus. Your willingness to publish the articles and appeal for help is greatly appreciated!

As for me - I've started thinking about my next big walk. This one will be for myself, I won't be raising funds as I did with the Kilimanjaro climb.

I have decided to walk the Camino Santiago in July 2012. The fact that I turn 50 that month is not a coincidence, no! I've merely timed it for then because it is a special time in my life but the true reason for walking the 780km through Spain lies much deeper.

As with the Kili climb, I certainly won't be the first, nor the last to undertake the journey. For me however, it will be the very first time and I have started the mental preparation for this incredible pilgrimage.

To join me on that adventure, almost two years before the actual walk, you are very welcome to follow the new blog that I have created as I journal about my daily 'camino'...

Already I am aware that the pilgrimage is going to change my life, a month ago I had no idea it existed and now it seems that no matter what, I have to walk all 780km!

The new blog is http://www.caminosantiago2012.blogspot.com. Join the journey - who knows, you might decide to put your boots on as well!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Visiting the Red Cross Hospital

I was invited to tour the wards of the Red Cross Children's Hospital yesterday. We visited the new wards that have just been completed, as well as the current Burns Unit - what a wonderful experience! My friend Ann went along and it felt really special to introduce her to the Burns Unit as she really has been very supportive of my fundraising efforts.

After the tour we, as 'guardians' of the hospital, were treated to a very informative presentation by some of the doctors who head up the various departments. Seeing photographs of little patients before and after  procedures and hearing about the incredible new theatres was pretty special.

There are now 8 state of the art theatres which were built at a cost of R125 000 000. These theatres are up there with the best in the world and it is wonderful to hear how doctors from abroad are comparing it with the Mayo Clinic theatres, in fact they are calling it the Mayo Plus theatres as ours have a view of Table Mountain as an added bonus!

To me it's just great that the surgeons, professors, doctors, nurses and trust staff are so accessible to everybody. It makes talking about the hospital, their work and very real needs so much easier as one has a very real insight after an event like yesterday.

I met a little boy in the Burns Unit who was electrocuted after touching a live electric wire whilst playing soccer with his friends in a little town called Carnarvon. He has lost his left arm and his entire body has been affected by this horrific incident. I was SO touched by his positive outlook on life after everything that has happened to him in the last three months, I have decided to meet with his mom and see if we can create awareness and somehow help with his recovery. He has a LONG road ahead and I'm not sure how they will cope with all the very real needs once he is discharged from hospital.

So once I have all the permission from everyone concerned, I will post his full story with photographs on the blog. Just one very real situation faced by a family who had to use this incredible hospital - it has just brought home again how important it is to source the funding needed to upgrade the unit!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Visitors from all over!!

Looking at the Live Traffic Feed at the bottom of the photographs on the righthand side of this page, I am just AMAZED at where all the visitors to this site are coming from! Russia, Canada, Italy, Germany, USA - to name just a few!!

If you are visiting from outside of South Africa - welcome! I hope that reading about this cause has really been interesting and I hope you have discovered a cause in Africa that you were unaware of.

The Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town was built in the 1950's and they have treated thousands of children from all over Africa since day one. The hospital receives state funding but funds for upgrades etc. must be sourced by themselves.

To assist in this enormous task, the Children's Hospital Trust was formed about 15 years ago. Their sole task is to raise funds for the hospital and at this stage they are so efficient that every single cent donated goes directly to the hospital.

So if you are living outside of South Africa and would like to donate to a cause that benefits children from all over the African continent - this certainly is the place to visit! All the details of how to donate are on the top righthand side of this page. All donations are made directly to the hospital, it is just important to follow the instructions as adding the reference "Emilene Kili 2010" will ensure that your money is allocated correctly.

We are having problems with the comments section of the blog, so if you'd like to contact me directly you can send a message to: ferreira.emilene@gmail.com.

Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some of Sandra's Kili pics...

My computer is SO slow this evening - I would have loved to load a host of pictures but for now the following is what I managed to download at this stage -  more to follow soon!

I will say, looking at the CD my friend Sandra sent me from Namibia brings it all back as if it happened yesterday! On the second day of the climb I remember saying to the others that the mountain should have been named 'Killermanjaro' - now I want to go back!! Thank goodness at my age one's memory seems to get rid of the bad and retain the good!! (Well that's what mine seems to be doing anyway!)

Sandra, Yolanda and I at our favourite camp - Shira Cave.

Climbing up Baranco Wall

From here on it looked almost like a moonscape..

With our young American friend Sean

One of our porters, Amissie. It is unbelievable to see what these amazing young men are able to transport up and down the mountain.

Our guide, Freddy, giving me some of his magic tea on the way up!

Sunrise on the way to the top - at this stage I was falling asleep on my feet...

Freddy and I

Spectacular view going up

Monday, September 6, 2010

Looking back...

It's been just over a month since the climb and I find myself really wishing I could do it all over again!

Climbing Kilimanjaro has been one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I have ever had and the more I think about it, the more I realise that the experience has left me with so much that I will be able to take with me for the rest of my life.

Firstly, I have learnt that if you have the correct mindset, you can achieve almost anything you set out to do. At times when my body just wanted to give in, I was able to force myself to carry on by making certain decisions. At times I almost debated with myself - setting short term goals and promising myself that I will review the situation once I get to the next level.

I was also fortunate that the altitude sickness, that almost stopped me in my tracks, became less severe as the days went on (...and as the Diamox tablets kicked in!).

Secondly - I have made two incredible friends. The two girls who climbed with me added something really special. When you can laugh with someone until the tears run down your face, you know that you have a special connection. The three of us were able to do this every day and I think that is something money cannot buy!

I know that we'll remain friends for a very long time and yes, there are definitely more trips in the future somewhere! We celebrated Sandra's 50th on the mountain and we've decided that as mine is less than two years away now, we have to start planning on which mountain we're going to celebrate that one!

Yolanda's 50th is about 20 years away, so Sandra and I will probably only manage to summit a hill of sorts at that time, but I assure you we'll be laughing just as much as we did on Kilimanjaro!

Thirdly - reaching the summit with the knowledge that we were able to contribute in a small way to a really worthy cause is such a good feeling. I can highly recommend creating a fundraising effort around any adventure trip you ever tackle!

I've also discovered how much I love hiking and I've continued this activity - last week we hiked in Stellenbosch - what a lovely surprise it was to discover the deli at Tokara wine estate! We stopped there for a coffee after the mist became too thick on Simonsberg - I will be back!! The interior is very European - understated decor with a great view of the mountain and farm - lovely glass windows right around brings it all right to your table! (Coffee was great as well!)

I have received all Sandra's Kili photos, so will be posting some with more comments in the next few days.

The Red Cross Children's Hospital now have a facebook page as well - will post the link with the next blog post. The countdown has started to the start of construction of the new burns unit - end of October is around the corner...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thank you Cape Argus!

Another BIG thank you to the Cape Argus newspaper for publishing a piece on this project in today's edition of their paper. It really helps to create awareness - I'm holding thumbs that big business will pick up on the story and get involved with making the upgrade of the burns unit a reality.

Come what may - construction will start by the end of October, I'll try and post pictures of the progress as it goes along.

Thank you once again to all my wonderful friends who continue to donate and get involved - you truly are friends in a million!

I'll continue to source goods for the auction that I hope to have at the end of the year - at this stage I have three great bottles of South African wines and a weekend away at a luxury lodge in Knysna.

If you have ANYTHING that we can turn into money for the hospital, please contact me and I will add it to the list of things that will be on offer at our auction. You and/or your business will get great exposure on the blog and I will continue to forward all the updates to the local newspapers. We have had great support from the Table Talk as well - so wonderful for the businesses that are joining us in this effort.

My contact details are: ferreira@netpoint.co.za. I am also very happy to talk to groups about our experience and at the same time will provide information on the hospital. Should you wish to be taken on a tour of the Burns Unit at the hospital, that can also be arranged.

Why not join me in this worthy cause - I look forward to hearing from anyone who'd like to get involved!

Let's REALLY make a difference this year!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got my travelling shoes on again!

We've taken a few days off to visit Portugal and Madeira so all the Kili stories will have to wait until the end of the month!

There are incredible mountains to climb in Madeira as well but unfortunately we won't have enough time on this trip - hopefully I can get some nice pics though.

As for the fundraising for the Red Cross, they have let me know that just over R50 000.00 has been banked already!

As usual - a HUGE thank you to each and every person who donated, you are friends in a million!

Until later then!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What an amazing morning...

This morning Rodney Beck, chairman of the Outriders Cycling Club and I visited the Burns Unit at the Red Cross Children's Hospital and officially handed over a cheque for R20 000.00 to prof. Heinz Rhode.

This entire amount was raised by Rodney and the members of the Outriders in one month!!

Prof Rhode confirmed that construction is due to start in October this year, even though they still have to come up with the balance of the money required. Every single cent that we donate will go directly towards the upgrade.

He also explained how the entire ward will move to another area in the hospital while the construction takes place - not something to look forward to! So for at least 7-8 months they will have to improvise. The good news though, is that at the end of that period, they will have a superb new, specialised unit, dedicated to the little burns patients.

Let's hope that loads more people will support this amazing hospital - every little bit adds up in the end!

Rodney Beck, Prof. Heinz Rhode, Carol-Ann Bantam and her little son Carlten and I

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The best news ever!

A HUUUGE thank you to Rodney Beck and members of the Outriders Cycling Club - they have managed to raise R20 000.00 for the Burns Unit!! What an amazing contribution!

I am so proud to be a part of a community that is willing to get out there and get involved, thanks to everybody and especially Rodney - he really has driven this project with amazing enthusiasm. It really is appreciated!

Tomorrow morning we will be handing over the cheque to the hospital - watch this space for the photograph!

In the meantime - here are some more Kili pictures. Enjoy!

The first view of Kili from the plane - SO exciting!

Signing in at the gate - nervous but excited...

With Sean, Yolanda and Sandra on the first day, still full of smiles!

Early morning view from our tent at Shira Cave

Popcorn and peanuts have never tasted so good!

Early morning wash - water was hot but the ground was covered in ice!

At this point not much grew anymore - almost like a lunar landscape

A new day begins at one of the camps

Yolanda and I - too tired to take one more step!

With Sandra and our guide Freddy at the top. What a feeling!

Glaciers at the top

Our entire team. 2 Guides, a cook and 10 porters!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back home!

I have been back home for 12 days now and still battling with a chest infection! I am so done with tablets and medicine at this stage - nothing seems to help! This morning I decided to go for a B12 injection to boost my immune system and I was told that within 48 hours I'll feel like a different person - so let's hold thumbs it works...

As for the climb - I still feel as if I've dreamt it all! It came and went so quickly, I have to start writing all the details down before it fades away.

One thing that I know will never fade, is the fact that this really was the most difficult thing I have EVER done. You keep climbing, day after day and the oxygen just keeps getting less and less. Even with the help of Diamox, altitude sickness is bound to affect you at some stage.

It really hit me hard as we reached our first camp at the end of the first day. I was ill for most of that evening and seriously considered turning back at that stage. I'm not sure how anyone can climb that mountain without the help of God! I prayed that night that I should just receive a calmness in order to continue because I actually had a few panic attacks that first night.

Home sweet home for 5 nights!

Lying in a tiny little tent in the dark feeling claustrophobic, nauseous and panicky is not fun! The headache I got that evening also stayed with me for thew next five days. My prayers really were answered, in the early hours of that morning a peaceful feeling came over me and I started feeling a little better. I made the decision to continue and looking back I am so glad I did!

I'll post more pictures and continue the story tomorrow!

Thanks to my amazing friends at Auto Trade Supplies for their wonderful donation to the hospital!!

With my fellow climber, Sandra and our guide Freddy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back home...

I still feel as if I've dreamt it all! Unfortunately I'm in bed wit a chest infection so I haven't done any updates or posted pictures - I promise that will all follow soon!

For some reason the site would not allow anyone to post comments - really sorry about that!! Thanks for getting all the messages to me via email - I appreciate each and every comment and all the good wishes - it has helped to keep me motivated every step of the way!

Going to just take it easy for a couple of days now - I'd really like to just get my breathing back to normal again, so antibiotics it is for the next few days!

A BIG thank you to each and every person who has continued to donate to the hospital after the climb!!

To Jeff and Kay Longman, my Table 13 friends, THANKS and to my brother-in-law, Fred, DANKIE BAIE!

To those of you who have requested pledge forms - I'll be emailing them off tomorrow....and.... if you'd like me to send you a form as well, drop me a note at ferreira@netpoint.co.za.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back at the hotel...

Wow - what a relief to have been able to sleep in a proper bed again! We got back to the hotel after a 3 hour walk from our camp yesterday just before lunchtime. We will be leaving to the airport in a couple of hours, we have a LONG travel day ahead of us.

If all goes as planned I will be in Johannesburg at 23h50 tonight (!!!) and my flight to Cape Town leaves at 9am. Needless to say, I am going to try and get myself booked on an earlier flight.

Sense of humour still prevails, so we'll tackle the day with a smile!

I am SO tired, I think I can easily sleep for a couple of days straight right now. This has been the most difficult thing I have EVER done in my life. I have pushed myself further than I ever thought I would, both mentally and physically and I have to say, this has been a journey of self discovery that has taken me by surprise.

When you are put in a situation where you have to search deep within yourself to achieve what we've just done, it is really surprising to discover what you are capable of!

One thing I will say, if anyone ever tells you that climbing Kilimanjaro is a walk in the park - well, don't do business with them unless they show you the certificate proving that they've actually done it!

I actually fell asleep on my feet more than once during the final part of the summit climb, I imagined rock faces closing in on me where there were actually just empty spaces - I can honestly say that this experience has taken my mind and body to heights that I never imagined I would go to!!

Thanks to Ryan for updating the blog while we were climbing! Incredible that there is Vodacom reception on spots all over the mountain!

Once I'm back in the real world I'll post details of the climb with photographs. A BIG thank you for all the wonderful wishes and messages I received, even while on the mountain, you have no idea how mush it helped to lift my spirits!

So, if you're reading this and would still love to join me in helping to get the Burns Unit at the Red Cross upgraded, now's your chance to join all of those who pledged money in support of the climb! All the instructions are further up on the blog.

THANK YOU so much for your support! :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Almost There

Summit beckoning:

Blow the summit...

Just arrived at final camp before summit after 9 hr hike!  This was HARD!!  Extremely tired but hoping to have a few hrs sleep after supper. We start summit climb at midnight tonight, 11pm SA time. 6 hour climb to summit. Windy and ice cold in camp, -4 deg celsius. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

4500m and climbing..


Just made it to 4500m!! Feeling better, other girls also ok. We have a 6hr climb tomorrow, start the summit climb midnight tomorrow! 6 people from another group already turned back!  Wish us luck, this is a tough but amazing experience! Love to all!! xxx

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hello from 3400m

Latest update:

Having lunch at 3400m! Camping at 3600m. Hardest thing I've ever done in my life! Suffering from altitude sickness! Never want last night over, nauseous, headache and claustrophobic! Not giving up unless I HAVE to. Love you all LOTS! xxx

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We've arrived!!

After all the planning we're finally here! We travelled the entire day and to say we are bushed is putting it mildly!

All our bags arrived, thank goodness!! We've just had a lovely dinner at the hotel, now we have to repack all our bags so that the porter has exactly 12kg to carry and the same for each one of us. Luckily we can leave some clothes at the hotel for when we get back, so hopefully my load will become lighter!

We saw the top of Kili above the clouds from the plane, spectacular! I can't believe we'll finally be walking on the mountain tomorrow morning...

The tour operator is meeting us after breakfast for a briefing, then we have a one hour drive to the gate where the walk starts.

I am going to attempt to send my son updates if and when we get reception on the mountain and he will post anything I send on the blog. If nothing new appears, there was no reception. So let's hold thumbs!

The three of us are in good spirits and we've already met some other climbers, some doing our route, some venturing off in different directions. The overall feeling is the same though, loads of anticipation and lots of fragile nerves!!

Anyway, wish us luck! The adventure truly begins from here on!! :)


Monday, July 19, 2010

2 more sleeps!!


It's after 11pm on the second last night before my departure and I am done for the day!! Most of my things are now actually in one place ready to be packed into the two bags I'm taking - my daypack that I'll carry on my back and the extra duffel bag for my porter. I'm allowed 12kg in each bag - not sure how I'm going to stick to that one at this stage!! Downstairs on the kitchen counter a whole supermarket of snacks, medical supplies and wetwipes awaits...

Thank goodness I'll be picking up the sleeping bag at the hotel, so I don't have to carry that along as well!

I thought I'd post pictures of what I thought was the good, the bad and the ugly (at this stage anyway!).

The good!

Well... The Bad.

I had a host of things that I was going to put in this spot but after typing and deleting for about ten minutes I decided that I won't allow myself to see anything as bad at this stage. What would have been bad is if I had lost my sense of humour, and I assure you, I have no intention of losing that one!!


The ugly

Sorry Crocs manufacturers, I really do think these are the most unflattering shoes. It was however a team decision that we would take them up to wear (with three layers of socks!) at night in the camp. They're light and comfy and will probably find a new home at the bottom of Kili at the end of the trip!

And that's that for tonight - final post from my warm, comfortable chair tomorrow evening! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

3 sleeps to go!

If you have to ask me what the best tip is that I can possibly give you at this stage of my planning for the big climb, I'd simply say: DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST WEEK TO BUY WHAT YOU THINK ARE THE BASICS!!

I spent hours in the mall yesterday searching for the correct socks, gloves, survival blanket, bottle covers etc. It seems as if Kili is going to be a busy place this month as all shop assistants blame the lack of stock on perspective Kili climbers raiding their stores!

So now I still don't have the correct gloves and only half of my socks but I guess tomorrow is another day. Arming myself with a very detailed shopping list before going shopping tomorrow is going to be essential, I really don't want to waste valuable time running from shop to shop.

I really thought one becomes more organised as you get older but alas, I feel a bit like a chicken without a head at the moment...

On the positive side, I have bought myself a little Olympus U tough 3000 camera to take along on the climb. It is made to be used in harsh conditions, can withstand -10 degrees celsius, will survive a fall of 1,5m and can be used underwater. I'm taking two extra (lithium) batteries, so hopefully I will be able to take all the shots that I am hoping to get. The most important one of course of the three of us on top!!

My friends at Remax Table View, who are doing a great job in creating awareness of the project in my local area, have asked if I will take a flag along to the top, so watch this space!! This journey is bringing me so much closer to the people who live and work in my community, positive spin-off's all round!

The most important thing of course is to get everybody on board to help make a difference to a hospital that is so important to this city of ours.

Wish me luck - hopefully I am more organised by tomorrow evening when I hope to post some pictures of the big packing adventure! (I hope someone told our porters there are three women in the group - there's no way I'm going to be able to stick to my weight limit!!) :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

6 days to go!!

I feel as if I'm dreaming at this stage! The days are simply flying by and I am starting to wonder what on earth I've signed up for. Every time I look out of my window at Table Mountain it seems higher and more scary than ever!

I've never thought of Table Mountain as being scary before, so I really am starting to worry a little...

Well at this stage I can't actually afford to dwell on the things that I'm afraid of, so we won't talk about altitude sickness, scary heights, below freezing temperatures, hard sleeping surfaces or long drops! Instead I'm going to imagine myself (once again) standing on top of the world with a big smile and a tall, ice-cold glass of shandy waiting for me down below.

This was also my birthday week and we went to Knysna for two glorious nights. What a special part of the world, I can't wait to start exploring the incredible hiking routes there, now that the bug has bitten me!

My friend Jonathan brought me his special sleeping bag today, I'm sitting in in right now to see if it's going to be warm enough. My husband suggested that I pitch a tent in the garden tonight and try it out for real - I suppose that's not a bad idea!

Tomorrow I'm going to do some of my final shopping - hand warmers, gloves, water purification tablets, socks, etc., the list seems never ending! Thank goodness for friends who have produced gear bought for trips taken years ago - bags, gaiters, sleeping bag inners and pants to name but a few!

On a lighter note, I kept snapping away from inside the car yesterday as we drove back from Knysna. Here are a few of the amazing scenes that rolled past my window and no, it's definitely not Kili yet, even though you'll be excused if you had to ask! The mountains are covered in snow - I won't be surprised if they start offering ski holidays on the Garden Route in the near future!

Taken on the R62

Just before Robertson - I'm taking this to be a real good luck omen!

Truly dramatic - we went from a sunny Knysna to a cold and wet Cape Town in a couple of hours.

Pretty similar to how the Kilimanjaro experience is going to be I suppose! I can't wait to post pictures of the amazing rain forest, the almost moon like landscapes higher up and then finally, the snow covered peaks at the top of Kili. Not sure how I'm going to sleep the next couple of nights!

Here's hoping loads of people will come on board in support of  the hospital in this last week before the climb!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

10 Days to go!!!!

The countdown has begun! Ten days before the big day - I can't believe how the time has flown!
This has been a busy week, Tristan turned two on Friday and it's my dad's birthday today. So we had loads of celebrating at our house this weekend - I have definitely done my bit to fatten up for the big climb these last two days! I've also done a bit of shopping, slowly but surely my Kili supplies are stacking up. On Friday I went for my yellow fever shot, thank goodness that's out of the way! I also decided to get malaria tablets. I'm not keen on them as I want to take as little medication as possible, other than the altitude sickness tablets. However, I decided that taking a chance with malaria is simply not worth it.

Here are some of the goodies I added to my stock this weekend....

My cholera and yellow fever certificates - valid for 10 years, thank goodness; headlamp; Diamox for altitude sickness; malaria tablets; fleece top and Kili waterbottles.

The waterbottles survived being thrown down Table Mountain, so hopefully they'll work well on Kilimanjaro. I debated quite a bit about how much I wanted to spend on a headlamp but finally decided to go for a Petzl with multifunctions - a little more expensive but I think that this is one piece of equipment that you can spend some money on. After reading some of the accounts of the summit night on our route, I want to be sure I can see as much as I can! As we summit at midnight, it will be essential to have a good headlamp. It should be full moon on the night that we attempt that final stretch, hopefully it will be a clear, beautiful night!

As for the weekend celebrations, my little grandson is now two, it feels like yesterday that we were all eagerly waiting to meet him for the first time! We had a BUSY morning with a house full of little ones running around!

This is MY day!

Tristan is in his 'car' phase, so his mom and dad chose to have this as the theme for his party - this is one car that didn't last long!

Posing is hard work!

As for the hiking this week - Thursday was my last day on the mountain. From now on I plan to focus my training in the gym. I think my legs need to rest a little now, so I'm going to just stick to a comfortable pace these last ten days. On Thursday we hiked up Table Mountain from the Camps Bay side. It was a glorious day and the view of Camps Bay and Lions Head was spectacular. We met loads of people on the way, when the the sun is out in Cape Town more and more people seem to be heading up the mountain!

Here are some of our pics, some taken by Jean, one of my fellow hikers. Thanks Jean!

Can't beat this view!

Denise, Irene, Stefani, David and I

Maclear's Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain. I guess that's as high as  I've been then! 5895m seems really scary at this point!

Just another winter's day in Cape Town!

And finally - soccer fever is still very much alive in our city. I spotted this little guy playing with his soccer ball at Greenmarket Square and just couldn't resist taking about a million pictures of him!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Soccer fever!

Our little Abigail supporting her team!

Portugal never made it, but who cares! Abbey the Yorkie knows where her bread is buttered. As our home supports Portugal and South Africa, she's playing the part!

Whether you wanted to be a part of the world cup or not, South Africa is in the grip of soccer fever and even though I resisted the flag-on-the-car bit, I couldn't resist this little winter warmer for little Abs.

There is such a positive vibe in our country right now, I really hope that we retain a huge amount of that once all the soccer hype is something of the past. How wonderful to be bombarded with positive, funny and lighthearted news on a daily basis - we certainly can do with it!

I am quite proud of myself today, I spent time in the gym this morning and even tried out new equipment - I really am pretty serious about getting fit - only 17 days to go now!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Window to the word!

Our group at Irvin Rock yesterday

If you've never hiked with a group of people, let me tell you, you are missing out! Today I'm back in the real world and reflecting on the day I had yesterday I'm just so aware of how special these days on the the mountain have become to me.

I have met a whole group of new people and whilst walking we have covered every topic under the sun! From dishwashing liquid to global warming to politics - opinions abound!

Do you know (for example) where the saying, 'don't throw the baby out with the bath water' comes from? Well, Jimmy, our Scottish friend who walked with yesterday, had a wealth of information and this is what he came up with. In the early days, when people didn't bath that often, when it was decided it was time to have a wash, the entire family would bath in the same tub of water. The father would go first, then the mother and then the kids. By the time it was the baby's turn, the water must've been pretty murky. So when throwing the dirty water out, one had to make sure you didn't throw the clean baby out as well!

Therefore: throwing the baby out with the bath water is an expression that suggests one doesn’t need to reject an entire idea, concept or practice if only part of it is good. The baby, in this sense, represents the good part. The bath water, on the other hand, is usually dirty after the baby is washed and needs to be discarded.

David, on the other hand, educated us on the habit of Chinese rulers of old who collected massive rocks from all over the world and displayed it in their gardens and also elaborated on Zen philosophy. I heard for the first time how in years gone by a bell would be placed above coffins so that people could alarm others that they were in fact still alive - imagine that! Seeing that they don't do this anymore, I wonder, is it a good idea to insist that you get buried with your cellphone today? :)

Stefani has tackled the task of learning how to speak Afrikaans and it is a pleasure to share the knowledge of your mother tongue with someone who is so excited about learning! Stefani is already fluent in German and English - she has definitely inspired me to tackle Portuguese next year. After almost 29 years of marriage to a Portuguese citizien, it's probably about time!

Denise, the youngest member of our group yesterday, knows what she likes and does not like in life. Anyone who can figure out as a child that arranging peas (that you hate eating) around your plate and deflecting your mom's attention from the fact that you're not eating your food by telling her this is your 'green peas movement', is going places! 

As for our leader, and that she is indeed, I will follow her on any trail, no matter what. Irene knows our mountains like the back of her hand. When it seems as if there is no path, she manages to track it down, overgrown or improvised - she always leads you in the right direction. It is indeed special to be guided by someone who has such great knowledge of the routes, origins and history of everything on our mountains.

Yesterday I saw the smallest protea in existence for the first time, heard a rock hit an invisible pool of water in a disbanded old manganese mine and enjoyed my lunch under a rock looking down on the city of my childhood.

Now if that isn't something special, then I don't know what is.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Winter in Cape Town is not half bad!

Looking down on the Muizenberg beach

A Button Spider - beautiful to look at but you don't want to get too close!

Stefani and I  - proof that we were there!!

Winter in Cape Town is a breeze. Well, most of the time anyway... Today was just the most beautiful day in our city and to have been able to hike to the Muizenberg cave from Silvermine was spectacular. School holidays ensured that traffic was not a problem and we could even lie in an extra 15 minutes this morning!

We had a great day on the mountain with hardly a breeze. I can't remember when last the sea looked as smooth as it did today, we were even able to see shoals of fish from the top! The world cup visitors were out in full force as well, we met up with a guy from Ireland who was out for a stroll on the mountain and judging from the multitude of accents we heard, he certainly wasn't alone.

I had to ask myself how many of our locals have actually been up the mountain.... If you're one of them - put on those boots, pack some lunch and get out there - it is spectacular!

Being out there in the wonderful setting with great company and enjoying it all in excellent health just made me think of all the little one's in the ward at the hospital this very day. How many sad stories are unfolding at this very minute, scars that might never heal, eyes that may never see again - lives that are changed forever!

How fortunate we are. I'd like to urge you to pass on the details of this blog to as many people as you can. I invite you to join me in this effort to raise funds for such an important place in our city. Our children truly are the most precious members of our society - lets ensure they are taken care of as best as we possibly can!

Reflections in False Bay - what a privilege!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stepping it up...

Today I stepped up my training a few notches. Virgin Active in Table View have given me a membership to their gym until the end of July to prepare for the climb - THANKS A MIL guys! Now I can work on all the areas that I have not focussed on during the running and hiking and with the help of one of their trainers, Shirley, I am learning how to make the most of the equipment.

I am going to have to work hard until the 21st of July to build up and maintain my level of fitness as I have some catching up to do!

Tomorrow we'll be hiking from Constantia Nek, it's really going to give me a good idea of what hiking in cold weather is like - right now we have all the heaters in the house on full blast and even the dogs are all under the blankets! It's freezing in Cape Town!

Thought I'd share this little piece of wisdom that I read in a magazine yesterday: 'Never let the weed of negativity take root in your life - life is too short!' Isn't that just true!

So in the spirit of things positive, I'm off to make myself a warm cup of tea and I'm going to fill my head with visions of myself standing on the summit of Kilimanjaro with the biggest smile ever! To top it all off I'm going to alternate that with visions of a target reached for the Red Cross Children's Hospital. After all, that's what this is all about!

We are going to make a difference - of this I am positively sure! ;)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hakuna matata!

These amazing pictures of Kilimanjaro were taken by Tony Laubscher whilst flying over Tanzania - all in a days work!

Looking at these pictures and realising how the 21st of July is looming in a very big and scary way, I've decided that I am going to have to get to know this mountain and start preparing myself mentally for what lies ahead. So my first plan of action was to  arm myself with a catch phrase. I looked up some Swahili words and decided that 'Hakuna matata' or 'No problem!', will do for me!

So. What are the facts? The mountain is 5895m high. In 6 days one goes from Equatorial forests to arctic conditions. The range begins with the warm, dry plains with average temperatures of 30 degrees celsius where Moshi and Arusha are situated. The hike starts in a wide belt of wet tropical forest with plenty huge trees and Spanish moss. You then travel through zones with generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall, to the summit where there is permanent ice and below freezing temperatures.

July is the dry season, so generally considered a good time of the year to climb. Hopefully there won't be too many clouds as I have specifically chosen to summit on the 26th of July, the night of a full moon.

The biggest challenge one faces it seems, is Acute Mountain Sickness. This rival of all high altitude climbers can affect one from as low as 2500 meters but is more common above 3000 meters. Until you've been at these altitudes, you have no way of knowing how your body is going to react. AMS occurs as a result of the body's failure to adapt to higher altitudes.

One of the things that I have heard over and over is that one should climb slowly to prevent the onset of AMS and you should also be able to recognise all the symptoms, as well as know how to deal with them. I am doing my homework as best I can about this topic and have already bought my Diamox tablets - a must to have with you to help you deal with this condition. I will also be taking my natural remedy mix with, given to me by my friends Stefani and Phillip - they used it successfully when visiting Everest a couple of months ago.

SO...I think that is enough for now! I will tackle all the smaller issues one by one, no point in getting too worked up about AMS, it is what it is.

A definite positive is that the Outriders Fundraising effort is going really well and I have had a number of promises for smaller pledges. I have decided to have the auction later in the year and hope to be able to collect an amazing array of things to offer!

So quite a bit of work ahead, but as I said: Hakuna matata!