Sunday, February 28, 2021

A foolish but worthy excursion for cancer

When some chose the easiest, conventional and most convenient ways of raising money for charitable causes, members of Tshwaragano Adventure Trust opted for the most dangerous and foolhardy of them all. They chose to try a feat that many men had failed to achieve, climb Mount Everest.

Moraki Mokgosana and Mahube Mpugwa, chairman of Tshwaragano Adventure Trust, have just returned from an excursion up Mount Everest. Through the Trust, they have managed to raise money for charity. Asked to narrate their experience, Mokgosana said: “Some people call us courageous for what we did. In my opinion they could not be further from the truth; we were fools.”

However foolish it might have been, the excursion was worthwhile because it raised P250, 000 for Cancer Association Botswana (CAB).

At 8,848 meters, Mt Everest in Nepal is the highest mountain on earth. Mokgosana and Mpugwa held a press briefing at New Capitol Cinemas on Thursday, where they shared their experiences on the expedition before handing out the P250, 000 cheque to CAB.

As one would expect, the journey was no walk in the park. After months of jogging and walking around Gaborone with backpacks weighing five kilograms on their backs, the two set off for Nepal on March 18th, reaching the capital city of Kathmandu on March 20th.

They started their eight day tracking on March 21st.

“We traversed some of the most difficult terrains in the world. Every day we went a further 1000 meters above sea level on steep slopes, through icy paths and snow,” said Mpugwa.

With higher altitude came the problem of less and less oxygen. Breathing became a challenge and the two found simple exercises that they normally took for granted, like tying up their shoe laces, becoming very challenging. But they never faltered; they soldiered on for eight hours every day, with brief stops for tea and lunch.

“We had breakfast at 7 am every morning, comprising of coffee, scrambled eggs and a slice of bread, or oats.”

Water was also very crucial. “We had been instructed to drink eight liters of water a day.” Every day they covered five kilometers and stopped to have a standard dinner of either rice or spaghetti with boiled vegetables.

“We went for ten days without a shower. Personally, I could not sleep for five days because of altitude sickness. I even hallucinated at some point. But I was inspired to keep going by simple things like the striking beauty and serenity of the Everest landscape,” said Mpugwa.

His partner , Mokgosana did not share much about his personal experiences save to say that had he read a book he picked up upon his return from the expedition, he would not have gone up the mountain.

“People died climbing that mountain. We passed their monuments throughout the excursion and those were the most somber moments,” he said.

But for Mokgosana, that is exactly what life is all about; when one forgoes the comfort of his home to endure trials and difficulties in order to lend a helping hand to those in need. He said he was inspired by the incredible efforts of CAB geared at helping cancer sufferers in Botswana.

When giving her welcoming remarks at the press briefing Lulu Rasebotsa of Liberty Life thanked the two gentlemen for their courage.

“A journey begins with knowing. While they did not know what the expedition held for them in terms of mental and physical challenges, they walked with the knowledge of what the end would bring. That end is why we are here,” she said.

Tshwaragano Adventure Trust, a group of ten adventure enthusiasts, was extending a helping hand to CAB for the second time. In 2012 eight members of the Trust conquered Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro and raised P250, 000 for CAB. This year’s expedition was sponsored by BIHL Trust, Liberty Life, BCL, Ismail Group, Sefalana, TK Group, Dimension Data, Stanlib, Landmark, Steel Base, De Beers, Letshego, Naledi Motors, and Sasa Interiors.

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