From the September 2015 issue of The Rotarian
When Carole Kimutai was growing up in Nairobi, family members were always coming for long stays – a grandparent one month, a cousin the next.
“Anyone who needed school fees would come to Nairobi, and my parents would assist,” she says. “Or if my grandmother was sick, she would come to live with us until she was better. It was natural to help others.”
Years later, Kimutai was invited to a meeting of the Rotary Club of Nairobi-East, where she instantly felt at home. “I grew up seeing my parents help relatives, and now I am seeing people help quote-unquote strangers,” says Kimutai, the managing editor of a Kenyan news website and 2014-15 club president.
That realization led her all the way to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, which she and 38 other Rotarians and friends from District 9212 (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan) spent five days climbing in January. The team raised $40,000 for polio eradication and local projects. Another benefit was the deep relationships they developed with one another during their six months of training and subsequent journey.
“Here we were, these professional people with fancy titles, living in basic accommodations, having dinner on plastic plates, using toilets in the bush,” she says. Months after coming back down the mountain, the climbers and their Rotary clubs still enjoy those relationships.
And Kimutai continues to cherish the memories of their time on Kilimanjaro. “It reminded me of my childhood,” she says happily. “So much sharing.”