Trek4Mandela: 'The mountain has called and I shall go'
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Perio poverty is a thing of the past for South African girls who will benefit from a group of hikers summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Collectively the group raised more than one million sanitary pads to benefit thousands of indigent girls across South Africa under the #Caring4girls and Trek4Mandela expedition.
Trek4Mandela is an annual expedition to summit Africa’s highest peak on Mandela Day, July 18 to honour Nelson Mandela’s living legacy that not only inspires Africans, but people across the globe.
We caught up with Linda Reddy, Nando’s – Supply Chain Director for Africa, Middle East, India, who will start trekking Kilimanjaro from July 14.
Why are you summiting Kilimanjaro?
Climbing Kilimanjaro has been a dream for me and this year felt ready for me and what better way than to do it for an impactful cause for young girls and summit on Mandela Day! The number 18 means Chai in Hebrew – hopes of a long life to all my friends up the mountain with me and all the people that have been part of this journey with me and the many girls' lives we are going to touch.
The stars are aligned for me this year to disrupt good change within and outside.
The Trek4Mandela expedition also attracts like-minded people from diverse backgrounds and it’s been a good friendship development for the past few months as we form bonds during our training sessions, hikes together and planning. I suppose in some way the mountain has called each of us to come together and conquer her and ourselves within.The mountain has called and I shall go.
How did you prepare mentally and physically?
The training has been good as I enjoy nature. I have spent hours hiking up Table mountain, Drakensberg and local hiking trails. Going up to Tugela Falls which was beautiful and altitude is 3 200m in preparation for 6 300m up in Kilimanjaro.
Our winter with cold, dark, early mornings starts has been a challenge for me – it's good preparation when we get to the last 2 days before we summit when temperatures can get to about -20º. Dealing with about 2º seems nothing for what’s to come!
In the last 6 months I have also ensured my diet is healthy and mentally I am just so excited with this opportunity (there have been many days when work demands take priority and prohibits training time – this I enjoy too as I love my job).
What has the 2020 pandemic taught you?
After a challenging 2020 it allowed me to reflect and focus on my health and continue looking at what I can do to make a difference in other people’s lives. This Covid crisis has allowed me to greatly appreciate all my life’s blessings – from being employed at an amazing company that cares for its people to the love and support I have with my family and friends to the good health I have.
What has your training and preparation taught you thus far?
I have aimed to walk 10k steps every day for the last 6 months – some days more and less. From long day hikes up the Drakensberg, Table Mountain and other local trails several times – I have hiked at least 3 – 4 hours every fourth night. Westcliff stairs in Joburg and I eventually became friends after many trips!
Last week I took on a personal challenge and climbed 61 floors (57 + 4) of The Leonardo building (the tallest building in Africa) in about 25 minutes – this was such fun!
What are five items that you would not go to Kilimanjaro without?
Triple layer jacket
Any last words?
I am grateful for being part of a global company and have a strong network of friends, partners, suppliers and colleagues who also feel passionate about the Caring4Girls impact and wholeheartedly supported me with generous donations towards the foundation.
Nando’s has generously sponsored and donated towards this expedition and I am thankful for this. The process of raising funds for the Caring4Girls cause has taught me humility and joy at the giving spirit of people’s hearts (despite financially tough times).
South African’s and corporate executives want to make a difference in people lives far more than the problems we have in our country. Most of my donations came from men (who I did not think will understand the issue on hand) who all want to make a difference with young indigent girls lives – this is just beautiful and says a lot about the support men are giving to women in small and big ways. We must celebrate this!