Mount Kilimanjaro does not justify your cause

by You Have My Word

Mount Kilimanjaro

I need to rant this.

Why is it, that as soon as someone climbs Mount Kilimanjaro, something becomes a good cause? What the heck does climbing a mountain have to do with actually making a difference? What  about just reaching out to your neighbour, the person at work who’s really struggling, your immediate friends and family? Why is it necessary to go thousands of miles across the globe, put yourself through ridiculous physical exertion and bear all that expense?

I understand how it works – the fundraising, the awareness, bla bla bla… but HOW does it work? Am I making any sense here?

Like today, this was tweeted: “2 young girls summit Kilimanjaro for those without shoes…” Great! So, they get to see something amazing and spend thousands on climbing up an incredible natural monument so people can get shoes. How? Why not spend all that money and time and effort on the shoes and the community where they’re needed! Spend it on distributing efforts, spending time with the people you give the shoes to – don’t just dump and duck!

As soon as someone is climbing Kilimanjaro, a cause becomes worth while – why? Why can’t it just be about the cause? Why can’t it just be about the change that will take place instead of focusing on the “concerted efforts” of those involved? Why can’t it just be about the dream? Why can’t we cut the hype and just get to the point?

I’m all for supporting a cause and doing things to raise funds and awareness for acts of kindness – on a small scale or at an international level. Money raised for downs syndrome, hemophilia, abandoned babies, medical procedures, shoes… it’s admirable! In no way am I hacking the plight for people to get involved through a journey or a mass activity or conferences or a climb. I am however saying, that when we get more caught up in the commotion of the activity that we forget why we started, there is a problem.

This is part of the opening paragraph of one of these “climb-projects”: [Such-and-such] offers participants the opportunity to help support children in Kenya, Africa, and to hike one of the most beautiful mountains and prestigious climbs in the world. How is a prestigious climb going to help children who are orphaned and in desperate need of care and protection? HOW?

If we’re serious about making a difference, about impacting the world, about helping the poor, about supporting the weak, about leading by example… then let’s forget the hikes and the banners and the flyers and the film crew. Let’s do what we were called to do.