In February, 20 women from around the world pushed themselves to the limit to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise funds for Freedom Challenge-supported projects. One of those women was Sarah Bradfield from Atlanta. Here she shares why she took part
Why did you decide to take part in the Kilimanjaro climb?
I had wanted to do this climb for four years. I was supposed to go on the very first climb to Kilimanjaro in 2012 and I ended up finding out I was pregnant (after I already had my plane ticket!). So I couldn’t go. I prayed that God would one day give me the opportunity to go, and He did! He gave me the desire of my heart, and I feel blessed to have had this opportunity.
Had you done anything like this before?
Yes, I did the Everest Base Camp trek with The Freedom Challenge in Nepal in 2013.
What training did you do?
I did a workout/weight lifting program called The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, as well as lots of walking (six miles a day while pushing my jogging stroller with the kids!).
How did you go about fundraising?
I just got on my knees and prayed! The Lord provided. I did a Valentine’s Bake sale at the OM office in Atlanta, but the rest of the money was generously donated by friends and family.
Was there anything that made you feel nervous about the challenge?
The fundraising aspect of it was the most challenging part. I knew I needed to rely on God to provide!
What was the best bit about the climb?
The whole entire thing was amazing. I loved the day that we climbed the Barranco wall – it was literally scaling a massive vertical wall. It was scary and tough, but felt like such an accomplishment!
Where there any low points for you on the mountain?
I got super sick one day – altitude sickness. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I told myself, “I am not going to stop unless they force me to go down!” But I was dizzy, nauseous and my head was pounding so hard. And I just had to keep hiking up hill. It was hard. The summit night was incredibly difficult, and you really had to dig deep to force yourself to keep going.
What was it like to sleep on the mountain?
I didn’t sleep well for most of the nights on the mountain, but after a while you just get so tired that you conk out. There were cooks that came with us on the trip and they made amazing food. We were grateful for that.
How did it feel to reach the top?
It felt like such a mixture of emotions. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, triumphant, and most of all relieved. It felt like a dream come true.
What was the rest of the group like?
I loved our team. It was mostly young women from South Africa, Namibia, and then two of us from the US. We had a great team dynamic.
Would you do anything like this again?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t want to do Kilimanjaro again, but I am itching to get back out and climb something else now!
Sarah is a graphic designer with Operation Mobilization. She is married to Phil and has two children: a 3-year-old girl named Selah and a 20-month old boy named Gabriel.
We’d love you to join us on a Freedom Challenge event, the next one is in Wyoming in July – there is still time to sign up! Don’t miss out!