We have not been able to operate Kilimanjaro expeditions since February 2020, and during that time our friends over in Tanzania have not been far from our mind. COVID-19 has decimated the Kilimanjaro tourism industry and the income that the local people rely on to house and feed their families. In a typical year, travel and tourism account for 17% of Tanzania’s GDP and employs around 700,000 people. We are planning on resuming Kilimanjaro expeditions in June 2021, but that is still over six months away.
This November, our Kilimanjaro Program Manager and longtime Kilimanjaro guide Eric Murphy launched a fundraiser to benefit the Tanzanian staff and crew of Big Expeditions – our partner company and outfitter on the mountain. The hope was to provide our friends at Big Expeditions with basic food assistance to help bridge the gap during this time, and give hope that life will return to a better place in the future. The outpouring of support from the larger Alpine Ascents community has been outstanding, in just a few weeks the $30,000 fundraising goal has already been surpassed! The funds are being used to distribute food baskets to the Kilimanjaro crew over the next 4-5 months. The first baskets were distributed in Arusha on December 12. Approximately 200 crew members each received 10kg corn flour, 10kg rice, 5 kg sugar, and 3 bars of soap. On December 19, the rest of the crew that lives on the Manangu side near Kilimanjaro will receive their baskets. The second distribution is planned for the end of January.
If you’d like to contribute to the effort, you can donate here: COVID-19 Hunger Relief Fund for Kilimanjaro Crew. Every $7,500 USD raised will provide a staple food basket for 300 separate crew members. These staples can help feed a family for 1 month! It’s the season for giving. If you’ve enjoyed a past Kilimanjaro expedition or just want to make a positive impact in the world, consider making a donation.