Make a Change: Climb Kilimanjaro for Clean Water 2018 www.digdeep.org.uk
Kilimanjaro is one of the toughest treks in the world. The tallest free standing mountain on the planet stands at 5,895m. Fundraisers are undertaking this mammoth challenge to raise money for water and sanitation projects in Kenya. 10 million Kenyans lack access to safe water, held back by disease and disrupted education.
Michalis Leontiades, graduate of 2016 who is currently studying Biomedical Sciences with Data Analysis at the University of Surrey, UK, had realised from a young age that ‘helping others in need is greater than putting yourself first,’ and so, in August 2018 he took the big decision to become part of Dig Deep’s projects in Kenya.
‘Applying to the "Climb Kilimanjaro for Clean Water” challenge has been a huge challenge. However, my dedication for providing a respectable living to our fellow humans has helped me face this challenge as encouragement and motivation. The Kenyan children deserve the same opportunities as everyone else and my goal is to give them the kind of happiness they never had. Because "that smile" will signify a new era filled with hope for them, the community and the generations to come!’
In order to reach the “edge of the world” (as the natives call it), we had to climb for six exhausting days. Six days consisting of five different climate zones: Cultivation, Forest, Heather-Moorland, Alpine Desert and Summit climate zones. Our personal limits were tested every single day as we had to face extreme weather conditions as well as the possible danger of hypoxia. Despite all the obstacles, I had given an oath to myself that I would not surrender my dream- to wave the flag of Cyprus at “the edge of the world".
Once the mission was accomplished, my main feelings were euphoria, respect and gratitude. I was filled with euphoria because I managed to keep my oath and reach the mountain’s edge at 5,895 m. I also, felt sincere respect towards my fellow teammates but also, towards the native porters - members of our team - who were by our side each and every second of this endeavour. We would have accomplished nothing without their help! Lastly, I felt gratitude because I was able to be part of this “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. To experience the pure beauty of mother nature and the insuperable power of the human mind.
Throughout the “Climb Kilimanjaro for clean water 2018” project I was able to gain many valuable experiences. First of all, I learnt how to properly make a financial plan and meet deadlines which was essential to cover the goal of the £3000 required. Additionally, I developed important team skills but most importantly, I was able to experience a different way of life – that of African people.
Spending hours with ordinary African people and talking about their everyday life problems has deeply changed me as a person. These conversations made me realise that our problems area A DROP IN THE OCEAN compared to their problems. I am extremely proud that WE as Cypriots, under the name of “Kilismiles18 by Michael Leontiades” campaign have majorly contributed in “reviving” ninety lives which were previously considered as hopeless.
Michalis has surely established our school’s motto, ‘To Grow and To Serve’ and we proudly congratulate him on this big achievement! Click here to watch the big journey.