Pat conquered Mount Kilimanjaro on the 19th of August, right on the morning of her 55th birthday. Why did she decide to embark on this project? And in what way did this journey transform her?
The 19th of August 2016 not only marks Pat’s 55th birthday this year, but is also testament to her willpower. After one year of training and six challenging days she made it to the summit of the 5895-meter-high Kilimanjaro.
“It was hard, although I didn’t suffer from nausea or altitude sickness. I concentrated on going slowly slowly, pole pole, step by step. Something I’m not used to doing in my daily life”.
The 1,50-meter-tall woman is a bundle of energy. On her way up the Kilimanjaro she took the time to halt whenever she saw climbers struggle and to encourage them not to give up.
On one of these occasions she passed three women whose water supplies had run out because the water inside their water bottles had frozen. Instead of turning her back on them, as other passersby did, Pat stopped to offer them her own water.
By coincidence, they all turned out to be South-Africans, as they found out afterwards when they ran into each other in a restaurant in Arusha, where Pat was identified by the three women as the “Indian” lady who came to their rescue.
Pat faced a series of setbacks herself recently. But during it all, she kept helping others through her voluntary work.
She says she learned a lot from her own struggles and she wants to empower other women going through difficult times. Her family went through job loss, financial difficulties and was burgled on several occasions, all in the space of three years. However, this didn’t deter Pat from doing good. Her faith kept her strong. Four years ago, she took in a homeless couple with an eight-month-old baby that had been living on the streets in front of her house. For several months, they shared Pat’s home, until it turned out that the young family had been stealing jewelry and other valuables from her family home all that time. But instead of letting her head down or becoming bitter, Pat decided to have a positive take on life.
“Instead of complaining about what had happened to me and the material things that I’d lost, I focused on what really mattered. I told myself that I could conquer any challenge if I set my mind to it. That’s when I got the idea to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.”
Despite her financial struggle to be able to afford the different training camps, the costs of equipment and the trip to Tanzania (not to speak of the costs of the climb), Pat stayed resolved. She says that her recipe for success is actually quite simple.
“You take one step at a time. I learned that my strength could only come from within, from believing in myself. From then on I just needed to stay determined and not let go until I achieved my goal.”
Pat says she hopes to inspire other women to follow their own path and live their dreams .