I first was introduced to the Good Life Orphanage in 2009, in 2010 I had the privilege of visiting the GLO and was immediately thrown by peoples determination for fundraising for the project. So in 2011 I managed to recruit my husband Vincent , Marie and her husband Stuart into climbing Kilimanjaro in order to raise money for the project.
Our A Team of Climbers !!
After months of planning , with guidance from Mary,Kevin & Emma (who made the climb last year) it came to the 2nd November and we set off on our flight to Kili, the base of the mountain. On the 3rd November at 6am we set off for the Kilimanjaro gate and started our climb to the Mandara camp.
Setting off for our climb
Marangu Gate Reception
We woke for the next days’ climb feeling extremely anxious as to what lies ahead, we knew it was going to be a long day through dense forest and moorland. After a 6 hour hike we reached our second camp at Horumbo, amongst the clouds we were able to have dinner and are briefed for the next day. I slept for around 2 hours before having to get up.
On the 5th November we reached 4, 400 metres after a steep climb in order to acclimatise ourselves and then go back to the Horumbo camp until the next day. The 6th November brought the climb to 4,700 metres, to Kibo camp, after dropping our bags off we set off on the route for 4,995 metres in order to acclimatise ourselves for the night climb. I have an incredible headache, my face is burnt and my hands are swollen.
Kibo Point
At 11pm we are awoken by our guide to start the climb to the summit, we wear as many layers as possible with gloves and headlamps. We begin climbing in unison and reach the 4,995 metres we had reached earlier that day but continue on as the climb gets steeper and lightning lights up the night sky. We stop and have a 2 minute break, as we do I can see that Marie is struggling, the break comes as a relief as we are all out of breath.
Gilman's Point
At last we reach Gilman’s point, 5681 metres, I felt enormous relief to reach that point, although I know that we have another 1 ½ hours to the summit. It was 5am and we had been climbing since 12am, we walk around a crater on a ridge next to a very large drop, luckily it was dark and I could not see the drop to its full extent. After around 45 minutes we reached Stella point, which was over 5,000 metres, I am feeling incredibly sick and am not looking forward to the rest of the climb to reach the summit. The last march up to the summit I can see that Marie has dropped to the back, Stuart and Vincent are sat on a rock out of breath. We continue on round a corner and see the sign on the summit; it was the most amazing and overwhelming feeling as we walk towards the sign to say we have reached the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Uhuru Peak,  Kilimanjaro
In this photo you see Stuart and Marie at the summit of Kilimanjaro above the clouds overlooking the glaciers, an unforgettable sight!!
Stuart & Marie reach the Summit of Kilimanjaro
Our climb and everyone’s overwhelming generosity we were able to beat our sponsorship target by over 200%.
Our descent down
After a very speedy descent down from the summit, we were very relieved when we arrived back at the hotel, a warm shower was very much needed !!
At the bottom at last
We were met by Mary and Kevin in Mtwapa and were able to introduce Vincent, Marie and Stuart to one of Kevin’s now famous tours. This includes a visit to Mikoroshoni School which they helped build in 2005 and a visit to a family where the old Mama Rachel had leprosy. As the previous year, the family show a huge amount of hospitality bringing chairs for us all to sit on and showing Marie, Stuart and Vincent around their homes to show their way of life.
Kev's Tours
We then went to the Orphanage, it was amazing to see the children exactly one year older (Baby lisa who was now walking and talking) and the growth and development of the orphanage as a whole. We were taken around the back section of the orphanage where they grew their own fruit and vegetables, the cows which were now pregnant and the chickens in their new huts. All of these are used entirely for the orphanage, any extras are sold at market and the profits go directly back into the running of the orphanage.

We then went to St Bernadettes and St Mary’s School ….
Vincent & Kim @ St Bernadette & St Mary's School
We met up with Remy the Head Teacher who was able to show us round, the school was not completed when I visited a year ago so to see the school completed was amazing. Unfortunately it was a Saturday so the children were off school today; we would have to visit on a week day to see it running properly.
The next day we went to the feeding station, around 900 children turned up, the numbers were down due to a very important exam which was taking place on the same day. The feeding station is ran by a local Indian family, every Sunday, usually around 2000 children turn up for a proper meal of rice, beans, bread, a banana and a bag of maize to take home which will feed them for around 2 days. All the children queue up patiently and are given meals in groups of 3 to 4 depending on their ages. They are given one plate and are sat in their groups, nothing is spilt or wasted.
Feeding Station, Kikambala
After their meal they sing a song and are given a drink of fruit juice, many of the children put the juice in separate bottles to either share on their way home or to take home for the family. They are then given a banana and a bag of maize, the smaller children pass the large bag to their older siblings to carry and then start their long journey back home to their families.
On the Monday we are able to spend a full day at the GLO and St Bernadette’s and St Mary’s school, picked up by Kevin and Mary we were informed we were able to see the application process for the local children for classes K1 and K2. The school has been built keeping in mind the children will receive 1st class education for free, which is extremely rare in Kenya.
Stuart, Kim & Vincent looks on
260 children turned up to register for classes K1 & K2, which only had 60 places. There were no men around, only women with babies and younger children in tow. There were speeches made by Remi and the PTA chairmen and then the registrations commenced. It was extremely important that the education was given to the children deemed to be the poorest and most in need.
Registration Day fro KG1,Standard 6 & Standard 7
Kevin struck up a conversation with a boy that was there to register for the classes; he seemed very bright and very keen to attend the school. Kevin decided almost immediately to go for a spot check home visit. We all jump in the car with the boys’ mother, baby brother and sister, Kennedy joins us to translate. We drove for around 30 minutes before we reach the family’s home.
The house where the lad lives
The hut as it shows above sleeps 10 children, a mother and a father, they have an adjoining pig pen and another hut in which they sell illegal alcohol, there are men stood round outside the hut drinking.
Potential Pupil at St Bernadette & St Mary's School
Later that afternoon, the boy was given a place at the school.
After our spot check we were able to join in with a PE class…
Joining in with the PE Class
We then went to the orphanage, gave Mercy our pictures to download and went to say a final goodbye to all the mothers, aunties and children.
Happy Days @ the GLO
We would like to say a special thank you to all the people who supported us and donated towards the Good Life Orphanage.
We are looking forward to visiting the GLO again in March to see the official opening of St Bernadette’s and St Mary’s School and to catch up with all of the staff and children.

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