The geographical titan that is Mount Kilimanjaro will soon be the backdrop for 17 members of the Kilimanjaro Challenge 9 expedition. This is the ninth edition of Dun George Grima‘s philanthropic collaboration with fitness professional Keith Marshall. For the past 9 years, Marshall has been training volunteers to physically, emotionally and mentally prepare themselves for the mountainous ascent and back.
Every step made on Kilimanjaro’s terrain is all for a worthy cause. Every year, fundraising activities leading up to the climb have accumulated donations for Dun George’s projects in Africa. All of this comes together with the courage of those who take up the challenge, and there aren’t enough hats in the world to be taken off to them. We’ve caught up with Celine Xuereb to see how it’s all going.
Who is Celine Xuereb?
I’m 23 years old and I’m currently reading for a Masters degree in International Business. I also work in the family business. While my free time is filled with dance and other sports, I also love to travel.
What made you decide to take up the Kilimanjaro Challenge?
I knew about the Kilimanjaro Challenge as I know a couple of people that had formed part of previous groups. I’ve been wanting to do voluntary work for a number of years, but never got round to it as something would always come up. Even though the challenge is not really voluntary work, it still contributes to helping others. I love challenges, so that is definitely another contributor to my decision.
You’ve been training for the challenge since February. Could you tell us more about the process?
I came back to Malta in May, so I was one of the last to join the team. We train every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. With Kili training 3 times a week, planning and attending fundraisers, dancing 4 times a week and keeping up with other commitments, I barely have time for a social life.
I’m not a morning person, so waking up at 4.30am on a Sunday is probably the toughest part of the training. In reality, I think the biggest challenge is mentally preparing yourself for the climb.
What dynamics as an individual do you bring to the group?
I think there are two dynamics that I bring – team work and organisation. Having been dancing in a group for the past 6 years, I’m very team oriented and therefore it comes naturally for me to work as a team with the Kili people. I am also organised and like to have everything sorted and in place.
If you had to take one prohibited item with you up Kili, what would it be?
I’m not sure what is prohibited, but something I would love to take up is a shower with warm water, and a toilet!
What theme song would you like to have played as you trek up Kili?
The group has been trying to come up with a theme song, but we haven’t been successful. However, I’ll definitely be taking up a playlist with motivational and pumping music. When I train alone I tend to listen to a playlist named the Ultimate Motivation. I’ll have something similar while on Kili.
One song I’ve been singing on most of the treks is The Lion Sleeps Tonight. I’ve no doubt that I’ll be singing it on the mountain!
Get to know other volunteers, meet Michela Catania.