Raleigh, N.C. — Five Triangle residents are about to check a major event off of their bucket lists.
Rob Pavone, John Chamber, David McDowell and husband-and-wife Auston and Roger Moore – friends from work and church – are heading out of Raleigh on Friday and attempting to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.
As if climbing 19,340 feet is not impressive enough, the team is hiking for a bigger cause. The group is trekking to raise funds for ZOE, an empowerment program that helps orphaned African children.
ZOE offers training and access to resources in farming, animal husbandry, small business, health and hygiene, HIV/AIDs prevention, housing, education and child rights. The skills are designed to give orphaned children the ability to pull themselves out of poverty and move forward.
The mountain trek will support 108 orphans. As a reminder of the importance of the journey, Pavone is taking with him a photograph of children with their names on the back.
“My intent is to be able to reflect on (it) every day when I’m up on the mountain, reflect on why I am doing this,” Pavone said.
The five hikers are paying their own way for the trip and the hike, so 100 percent of the donated funds will go directly towards helping the children.
About $17,000 has been raised for the “Trekkin’ for ZOE” mission, bringing the team close to its goal of $19,340. That’s one dollar for every foot they climb.
The long trek will be far from easy. The team has been training for about two years for the mission. “I think what will get me over the hurdle is the fact that I’m in God’s country,” said Pavone.
Cisco, where Roger Moore works, has loaned the team a satellite terminal to get Internet connectivity on the mountain. The team hopes to maintain its blog during the trek.