Blog by Mehmooda Duke, CEO of Moosa-Duke Solicitors
Mehmooda Duke, Imaan Duke and Asif Moosa all from Moosa- Duke Solicitors reached the Summit of Kilimanjaro on 19th October 2018.
Imaan is my daughter and Asif is my Brother.
I am an ambassador for Healing Little Hearts and did the trek up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for this charity which operates on the hearts of babies and children in the developing world – babies and children who would otherwise die.
The trek up to the summit was 6 days and it took a further 2 days to come down.
The final push to the summit began just before midnight on Friday 19th Oct and took until 830am. We walked all through the night in the dark and watched the sunrise whilst on the mountain.
On the way up to the summit on the last push I was terrified when I lost the sight in my right eye – don’t worry, it came back when we got back to a lower altitude. I came to discover that this phenomenon is known as altitude blindness. Temperatures on the way up were as low as minus 15 degrees Celcius.
We went up to the summit at 5895 metres or just under 20,000 ft to the highest peak on the mountain known as UHURU Peak. By comparison, the highest peak in the UK is less than 4000ft.
We slept in tents with sleeping bags.
We walked 42 miles in distance through rain forests, moorland, arctic deserts, snow and ice to get to the peak.
The experience was one which required resilience and an immense amount of mental strength and determination and a team spirit to push others in the group when they were feeling down and struggling. We all helped each other keep going. The biggest challenge was acclimatisation and physical symptoms of crushing headaches and breathlessness at high altitude. Sleeping in a tent in a mummy sleeping bag was also a struggle and on the first night I woke after a couple of hours unable to breathe and had an enormous panic attack and almost gave up after the 1st night.
The ONLY thing that kept me going was the thought that 40 lives of babies and children depended on my reaching the summit.
The target is £20k and we are getting there. I aim to carry on fundraising until I hit the target. We are not there yet.
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