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 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 Daniela Spiteri Fiteni, to see how it’s all going.
Who is Daniela Spiteri Fiteni?
First of all, I’m not very good at describing myself… but I’ll just give you the basics. I’m 23 years old and a full time physiotherapist and I love my job. I’m particularly passionate about helping others and in trying to make a difference. In my free time, I try to be as active as possible and love adventure and spending time outdoors, be it going on a relaxing Sunday walk with my family, or rock climbing and bouldering. I also particularly enjoy dancing, cooking, researching, drawing, painting and engaging in philosophical discussions.
What made you decide to take up the Kilimanjaro Challenge?
I got to know about the challenge from friends of mine who are also in our group. I decided to attend one of the meetings and when I heard all about the mountain, the challenge, and the cause, I couldn’t resist. I love challenges and new experiences, and this seemed to be the perfect combination of adventure and doing something for a good cause – to help the children in Ethiopia. I’ve been wanting to go to Africa for years, and I can’t think of a better way of experiencing it than camping outdoors and seeing the wildlife on and around Mount Kilimanjaro.
You’ve been training for the challenge since February. Could you tell us more about the process?
We train a minimum of 3 times a week, in addition to my own personal training, not to mention the amount of time spent planning the trip itself and fundraising events. Whilst being worth it in the end, Kili definitely takes over your life, making it very hard to reach a balance between work, training, and having some form of a social life.
What dynamics as an individual do you bring to the group?
Everyone in the team has an amazing and unique character which really helps make our team unforgettable. I guess you could say I bring some humour to the team as many enjoy picking on me for being one of the shortest – something I’m getting increasingly used to! As much as possible, I also like helping out in whatever way possible.
If you had to take one prohibited item with you up Kili, what would it be?
My dog! I’m so used to him running all over the place and creating havoc at home. I’m definitely going to miss him.
What theme song would you like to have played as you trek up Kili?
It’s hard to pick one song as I must admit, I’d probably get bored of listening to the same thing, so I’d pick a mix of some classic rock songs by artists such as Bon Jovi, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Aerosmith and Metallica.
Get to know other volunteers, meet Tezara Eve Camilleri.