The Adventure of a Lifetime for a Great CauseMarch 17th, 2017
More than 24 hours after leaving Montreal on February 14, I finally set foot on Tanzanian soil for the first time. Despite the long journey, I was excited and eager to start my journey to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, which rises 5,895 metres above sea level. An incredible challenge, that’s for sure!
When Dairy Farmers of Canada first suggested in November that I climb Kilimanjaro on behalf of all Canadian dairy farmers, I questioned whether I could undertake such a challenge at the ripe old age of 50! I quickly pushed these thoughts aside and began training by going on long treks through the snow almost every day near my dairy farm in St-Boniface. It’s amazing how much this prepared me for the climb.
We spent our first few days in Tanzania in town to acclimatize and adapt to the altitude. I will admit that I found it hard to wait at first as I wanted to go straight to the mountain, but I eventually relaxed and used the time to get to know the 28 other Canadian climbers who would be climbing Kilimanjaro with me. I was lucky to be with such a diverse, kind and friendly group from all across Canada, each with their own reasons for taking on the challenge. The encouragement I got from the group was truly an asset during the climb. It was comparable to the cooperation felt among dairy farmers.
We left our hotel on February 18 at around 9 a.m. for the park gate, where we registered and began our ascent. We walked at a leisurely pace for about four hours, admiring the beautiful scenery—proud to finally be on the mountain! To my surprise, I found the walk fairly easy. I’d done my training in soft snow, whereas the terrain on the mountain was firm and therefore easier to navigate. To ensure my body and mind were in the best shape for the climb, I followed the advice and recommendations of my guides and porters. It turns out that a leisurely pace, a lot of rest and a healthy appetite are a winning combination for success on the mountain.
It took us five days to reach the summit. I must admit that the hike wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. We walked at a relaxed pace to acclimatize to the high altitude and the lack of oxygen. The first few days are truly a warm up to make the summit climb achievable. The day we summited, we woke up at 11 p.m. For several hours, we followed a steep route, climbing through the clouds. We finally reached the summit just in time to witness the sun rise. It was a truly moving sight! There are no words to describe how proud I felt at that moment, not only because I had reached the top, but also because I was able to represent all dairy farmers in Canada.
I would like to thank all dairy farmers, DFC and my family who encouraged me and donated money to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. I was honoured to participate in the Kilimanjaro Summit Climb in support of the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation on behalf of all Canadian dairy farmers. If, by participating in this challenge, I gave young people the opportunity to experience a moment of happiness and fulfillment, then that in itself will have made this journey worthwhile.
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is proud to have partnered with the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation (THCF) to support the 20,000 Canadian children and youth who benefit from their programs every year. Their flagship program is the THCF camps, where children and youth from low-income families get to spend two weeks at camp, where they build leadership skills, improve their confidence and leave feeling empowered to achieve their goals. Through this partnership, Pierre joined a group of passionate people who took on a great personal challenge and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the THCF. Pierre raised $13,950.00. Way to go, Pierre!
Have something to say about dairy farming in Canada? Why not write a post on Farmers' Voice?Contact us