Would you care to join us as we follow the experiences of Nicole Morse and her partner Marelise Bardenhorst on their quest to climb high, snow-clad mountains in Ecuador? Their venture is self-funded and the goal is to raise awareness and champion the children of the “Homes to Grow” project. We’ll be posting their journey on the website and Facebook page and would like to invite you to “Follow” and “Share” to spread the story.
Who are the children and the project they are supporting in their venture? It’s a story that unfolds with much promise and hope right from the heart of Masiphumelele, a township situated in the far south peninsula of Cape Town. The project started in 2009 when the St Francis Outreach Trust was established and through fundraising efforts and support from various associates, led to the establishment of two homes for abandoned or orphaned children affected through the HIV/Aids pandemic. The children had suffered traumatic experiences and some came from harrowing backgrounds, but we see how over time a stable and loving environment coupled with adequate healthcare and good nutrition heals the scars of that previous existence.
Of the requirements to ensure the children’s needs are covered, we find that the cost of their education is the most pressing. The funds being raised through Nicole and Marelise’s endeavours will make a promising start to this year’s target of R300,000. The eventual aim of the Trust is to raise R1.25 million in the long term for education but that goal remains a long way off. Should you wish to support the cause, any donation would be most appreciated.
The intrepid duo’s departure is set for February 16 and they will spend the first days in Quito acclimatising to the altitude. The plan is to ease into the experience by hiking trails on the lesser mountains – Pasochoa (4200 m) Pichincha (4696 m), Illinaza Norte (5126 m) and then try to summit Cotopaxi (5,897 m). Prior to this undertaking they will undergo technical training on the glacier to hone ice-climbing techniques using crampons and ice axes. If all goes well they will attempt to reach the summit by starting the climb at midnight on the seventh day. This will give them time to descend before the sun warms the glacier making it unstable by possibly causing avalanches or ice and rock falls. Additional challenges for the climbers could be adverse weather and altitude sickness. Tackling this rugged and austere terrain is not for the feint hearted! There are the demands in the lead up to departure as they prepare with the rigors of strenuous physical training as well as developing steely mental attitude. Nicole’s confidence is evident and she claims that they’re ready to go … “to push to the limits”. Three weeks to count down….. we wish them luck!