In May this year, Wilderness Safaris Senior Groups & Incentives Journey specialist, Carrie-Ann Mamotte committed to an intrepid challenge: to climb Kilimanjaro! Admittedly, there were a lot of factors that influenced her decision to take on the highest mountain in Africa…
Kate Collins, Wilderness Safaris copywriter, blog and Instagram manager, sat down with Carrie-Ann a week before her adventure to find out what inspired her to climb, why this climb will mean so much to her, and how her generous fundraising project will benefit Children in the Wilderness (CITW).
What made you decide to climb Kilimanjaro?
Carrie-Ann: I went on a Mind Power seminar in November 2017 with Cobus Visser, a fire-walk instructor. Cobus began telling the group about his story of living with haemophilia and that just three years ago he had been wheelchair-bound. He couldn’t pick up his children from school. He had heavy bleeding and the joints in his elbows and ankles had completely disintegrated. He continued to tell us how he had turned his life around through the power of prayer and by changing his mind set. He decided that he wanted to set a goal for himself and climb Kilimanjaro.
He asked if I wanted to join him and I was very interested… He then asked me again in January this year and I immediately said, ‘Yes! I am there!’ But then I thought about it some more and wondered about all the planning and expenses and thought, ‘How am I going to do this?’ I knew that I wanted to join but I just didn’t know how. I subsequently tore a ligament in my ankle and ended up in a moonboot. I had been walking my dog when I tripped. I guess I can’t really blame her for my injury!
I was in the moonboot for about six weeks in February and I thought, ‘Kilimanjaro is not going to happen.’ I decided that this idea was all a bit far-fetched. I could always do this another time.
What made you change your mind?
Carrie-Ann: It was Cobus who asked if I would join them on a walk up the Westcliff Stairs in Johannesburg. The group I joined had such an amazing positive energy. I realised that this would be my only opportunity to do this hike (with this group) and that my idea of doing this ‘another time’ would mean that I would miss out on experiencing Kilimanjaro with them.
I chatted to a colleague at my office and she said, ‘Just do it!’ My response, ‘Yes, but how am I going to do this?’
Bradley, a colleague and good friend, was the final influencer – he pushed and pushed me –sometimes to the point that I wanted to cry and throttle him at the same time! His continued encouragement made me say, ‘Okay, yes, I am going to do this!’
Tell us about your fundraising efforts for Children in the Wilderness?
Carrie-Ann: It was actually our late Wilderness Safaris co-founder Russel Friedman who inspired me to choose CITW. Russel was passionate about CITW and the work he did was inspirational.
I have a close affinity with conservation and communities. I think my story can be summed up as someone who is a ‘fierce warrior for the helpless.’ It means so much to me to support our incredible community programme.
How did you approach the fundraising for this?
Carrie-Ann: I asked a few friends what they thought about putting a fundraiser together. They were all very supportive of this idea. From being in the background, I now had to step forward and raise funds (something I had never done before). In the space of two weeks I managed to get together 150 people to attend my fundraiser.
When I first started raising funds it felt like mission impossible. It was one of the toughest things, and probably one of the reasons I took so long to commit – the truth is I was petrified. I was too scared to approach people to tell them what I was doing. I thought that people would think I am crazy for doing this and I was nervous about asking for funding. I was mostly afraid of rejection and people saying ‘no’ to me!
If there is anything this whole experience has taught me it is that, once you get over fear anything is possible. I like the saying by Will Smith, ‘Everything is on the other side of fear.’
How much have you raised so far and what has the response been like?
Carrie-Ann: I am sitting on about R 50 000 at the moment and am pushing for more. I have had to cover some of my travel costs but I still have till the end of July to reach my target of R50 000 for CITW.
The response has blown my mind. It’s been such an overwhelming experience as I have received so much love and support from everyone. I made a flag for the expedition that I will hold up high for Children in the Wilderness. Funnily enough, I was just about to print this when I received a call from a company that asked if I had printed it yet. They said they’d sponsor R10 000 if I added their logo to my flag. I was very pleased that I hadn’t printed it yet!
It’s been an eye-opening experience. I have also had such wonderful support from Wilderness Safaris and the crew from Children in the Wilderness.
How did the name ‘Kili on Purpose’ come about?
Carrie-Ann: Somebody actually said to me, ‘Why would you climb Kilimanjaro on purpose? I mean, I would rather eat a hive of bees than climb a mountain – it doesn’t make sense!’
The name is inspired by our story of doing this climb with a purpose. This is not just some crazy adventure. All eight of our team are hiking for very different causes. Tarryn-Leigh is hiking for mental stability and health, Cobus for haemophilia, Jason for anti-bullying and Will for the CHOC Children Cancer Foundation.
How are you feeling one week out?
Carrie-Ann: I am floating on air at the moment – everything has come together so well. It’s like I have a warm kind of fuzziness inside me.
I am a bush baby and am not afraid of camping but I think this adventure is really going to be ‘roughing it.’ No hot showers, everything you bring up, you bring down… One litre of water to wash each day… It’s going to be a big learning curve.
Want to support Carri-Ann’s journey? Click here to visit her page on Backabuddy.