It is hard to believe that exactly five months ago, I was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. But I am not at all central to the story.
Yes, climbing the 19,341 mountain is a bucket list item and is a physical and mental challenge. Yes, 27 people climbed together and managed to observe Shabbat, kashrut and even carry a torah scroll to be read during weekday and Sabbath prayers. Yes, we had the support of 3 cooks, 11 guides and 70 porters. Yes, mileage ranged from 3.1 miles on the acclimation days, to 13.7 miles as we hiked through the night to the summit
But the central “characters” of the story are the 4 extraordinary climbers from from Montana in the US, Texas (by way of Peru), Israel and Tanzania—Starla, Marcela, Arnon and Arnold are great conversationalists, fun people, funny, fun to be with, and also people with paraplegia. They, and the Trekker (by Paratrek), a durable vehicle designed by Omer Tsur (and his paralyzed dad), where the central people on the climb. The other 23 were supporting actors, learning about FAISR, Friends of Access Israel’s motto, “Accessible Together.”
Several of us have the honor of sharing the story of our journey with Ramaz Alumni Virtual Campus on Zoom tomorrow. We have intentionally called our presentation, “Accessible Together: The Conquering of Mount Kilimanjaro with Paraplegia and Other Different Abilities. I will share the story of the four climbers who have extraordinary abilities, and also have paraplegia.
If you’d like the Zoom link, please reach out to me. The presentation is Wednesday, July 8, at 8 PM EDT