Saturday, 3 November 2018


Again, I have to apologise for the lack of updates. The great news though, is that I did get to the summit.

Reached summit at 08:40am on October 18th, 2018.

It was truly a great experience. 

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The day is here

Finally, in about one hour's time, we will begin our journey to the hill. Bags are finally packed, weighing exactly 15kg.

Time to get the show on the road.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Hope continues

The journey so far . . .

A typical flight from Heathrow to Nairobi. Though it did felt like we were being followed.

Landing in Nairobi, we recovered our bags. Thank God that we had no incidence of missing bags. The hotel was just a few minutes from the airport. We had some team briefings from Ben, and we were off to our rooms, for a good night rest. Well, not before a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese.

The next day (yesterday) was all about getting to Arusha, Tanzania. We left early (8am). Somehow, they tend to keep to time. I think they are forgetting we are in Africa 😊. However, the rest of the journey felt very much like being back in Lagos. From the Police check points to the lack of traffic rules, the local market stalls to the motor cylces, I couldn't help the feeling of Nostalgia.

The hotel in Arusha is lovely. Wonderful staff, food and surroundings. I guess we are being pampered, before facing the "joy" of the mountain.

My highlight so far was meeting 3 of the graduates from the Compassion project. They shared some of their stories of how they had been impacted by the programme. Some quick highlights
  • 2 were from single parent families. In all cases though, the families were struggling with providing the basics.
  • One almost died when the family could not pay for his appendicitis operation. It was finally funded by Compassion. 
  • One discovered herself and her self worth through the programme.
  • The 3 have gone on to University, 2 Accountants, and 3rd year Mech Engineering student. And are now willing to give back to the community.
  • The sense of gratitude was profound.
For me, I could see practically that this was a means of escaping the poverty trap. Equip a generation of young ones, and when they are old, their children would probably not be caught in the poverty trap. 

I understand that Compassion Tanzania has more than 90,000 children across more than 400 projects. Kudos guys, keep up the good job.

Friday, 12 October 2018

An old hope

My church recently changed its name to "Hope Community Church". My pastor, a Star Wars fan, had a series of talks on "A new Hope". This did make me think about hope in life generally. I think it is fair to say that we all hope for a better life. Generally speaking, nobody wants to be poor.

I was thinking of writing an article on poverty levels,  but found this excellent article from "Our World in Data".  Apart from agreeing with the above point, it makes a lot of other interesting observations. Some of these are

  • The level of extreme poverty has been reducing globally, both in relative and absolute terms in the last 3 decades. So, there is hope that we can achieve poverty eradication. I will confess that I was not aware of this trend.
  • China has made major contributions to this trend, though not solely responsible. By comparison, a few countries, like Nigeria, have seen increases in the poverty level.
  • Having fewer than three children, having greater educational attainment, and living in an urban area are strongly and positively associated with economic well-being.
  • Half of those living in extreme poverty are under 18 years old (though accounting for a third of the general population). Similarly, a third of those living in extreme poverty are under 10 years old.
I found it an excellent read. It is long, but I strongly recommend a read.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The week is here

No, that is not a burglar. That is me trying out some of the stuff I will need for the summit night. 

So, after months of preparation, the week has come. Coming this Thursday, I would be flying out to Tanzania. Well, being me, I still have a couple of things I still need to pick up 😊. But almost everything is set. The preparation has been interesting. I've had scares with knee and ankle injuries. Thank God though, all the body parts feel ok now.

So, bring on that hill . . . sorry mountain.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Dollar Street

I just came across the Dollar Street website, and found it quite interesting. The website allow one to compare how different families live around the world. Quoting from the website
We want to show how people really live. It seemed natural to use photos as data so people can see for themselves what life looks like on different income levels. Dollar Street lets you visit many, many homes all over the world. Without travelling.
This can help put into context the "value of the lost coin".

If you don't have much time, I recommend that you watch the video in the about page of the website.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The value of the lost coin

The bible records Jesus telling a story of a woman, who looses one of her ten coins. While I believe the story is about redemption, it does make me wonder about our monetary value system. If I were to loose a penny, how much effort would I put into looking for it. I mean, it is "just a penny". Truth be told though, if the penny represented a tenth of my earnings, the story would be different.

Sometimes,  I use this principle as a measure of wealth and comfort (yes, it could also be a measure of carelessness and wastefulness). The idea is to determine the value of the coin, that one could afford to loose, without loosing sleep (again, fully aware that some people would loose sleep over any amount, irrespective of how wealthy they are).

It is worth taking a moment to think about what this value would be for different people around the world.
  • The homeless guy, sleeping rough on the high street
  • The till worker on high street shop
  • The shop manager
  • The CEO of the high street chain
  • The farmer in drought stricken Sudan 
  • The average family man in war torn Syria
If one may take it a step further, try to consider what impact the value of your seemingly worthless coin might have on other people in the world. Could it be significant or life changing for someone else? If what is insignificant to us, could be life changing to others, what could we do with it? Perhaps, a monthly drop of groceries at the community food bank or an occasional coffee for the guy sleeping rough. Maybe, if we think long enough about our coin, we might find a way to make someone's life better.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

An opportunity for a platform

Some things in life are sure bets . . . No team outside of the big 4 or 5 can win the premier league, Germany reaching the knock out stages of the World Cup, and a landslide defeat for Donald Trump at the US presidential election.

And me never writing a blog!

I've actively avoided social media. While I would confess to having some accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp), I refrain from posting or re-posting messages. Personally, I think we are living in an age of "information overload". But here I am, writing a blog. I'm sure many of my friends and family would be surprised. Maybe it is that mid life crisis I keep joking about.

Climbing Kili became a bucket list item when one of my former bosses took the challenge. Adewole, thanks for the inspiration. With the clock approaching 40, I felt it was time to strike this item out. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that Compassion UK has a Kili challenge. More so, when I realised that it is going to be in the week of my birthday. Seems like a match made in heaven.

I remember learning about Compassion, some 12 years ago, while still working in Nigeria. Understanding the impact of poverty, I was touched, though handicapped to offer any aid. The situation was different though when a lady from Compassion came to speak at my church. Since then, as a family, we have chosen to sponsor some of their children.

If I was granted a wish, for anything, my top list would be for everyone to come to the knowledge of the redeeming power of Jesus (honestly, I would wish for a thousand more wishes). As a Christian, I believe this is the true solution to all of our global problems. But, as I don't intend this to be a theological debate, my next best answer would be to end poverty, on a global scale. I look around, and see many of the global issues - Climate change, War, Inequality, Health - and I see poverty as a root cause for many if not all. I will present my view on this in later blogs.

So, as I embark on this challenge, somehow I find myself having an opportunity for a platform. It is one I can not pass up just because of my lack of affinity for social media. Climbing Kili is such a good conversation starter. And probably for the next 2 months, I could also make the conversation revolve around this global issue.

I have a goal to reach the summit, raise some money for Compassion, and much more importantly, to get people thinking about what they can do to solve the problem of poverty, locally or globally. So, lets start giving, talking, oh, and me climbing.