3rd September 2012, Lauren Keulemans, a journalist from Marval South Africa's PR agency, Evolution PR, has conquered the mammoth challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, using a Marval notebook to record her journey.
Lauren decided to climb the 5895-meter high mountain to raise money for the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), a charity that is close to her heart. "Climbing mountains has never been something that interested me, but when I was invited to join this expedition in aid of such a worthy cause, I leapt on the opportunity to have the adventure of a lifetime and help out some of our country's poorest animals and people," says Keulemans. "When the public think of SPCA, they think it's all about dogs and cats, but as a volunteer at this shelter, my experience has more often been that the SPCA helps people, whose pets help them to find some light in their lives. I thought shouting this message from the roof top of Africa was definitely something I could get behind," she adds.
Lauren chose to use a "handy Marval notebook and pen" to record her experiences on this exhilarating adventure, as it was "the perfect size to fit in a side pocket," she states. As the group of 30 climbers ascended on the 'Machame route', a spectacular climb that took the group through rain forests, alpine desert and sheer rock faces, Lauren recorded her thoughts in her Marval notebook on the day's climb. "My notes started out enthusiastically, with much reference to the beauty of the plant life and the fun of being out in the fresh air, and got progressively shorter as I ran out of energy, until 4 days later we were camped at the imposing base of the path to the summit." Keulemans continues, "My entry in my notebook that night read as follows: Climbing is getting harder - the lack of oxygen makes every step a trial. 3 hours sleep until summit. Can my body handle it?"
The answer, of course, was yes. The group continued their climb to the summit at 1am, in the darkest hours of the night. Just before sunrise, temperatures dropped to minus 17 degrees, and as the cold, the exertion and the mental fatigue took its toll, the effort required by Lauren was phenomenal. "7 hours, 26 minutes later, I reached the summit, and with my Marval notebook in hand, I felt like I was literally on top of the world!" Keulemans enthuses. Lauren's note at that moment was: 'I made it! Feels slightly surreal, maybe reality will sink in later.'
During the trip, Lauren noticed that her guide, Idi, was 'eyeing-up' her Marval notebook and pen. "As paper and ballpoint pens are quite scarce in Tanzania, I carefully tore out my notes and gave him (Idi) the paper and my Marval pen." She adds, "I hope Idi is recording his adventures in his new journal. I know that my trusty notepad is in the best of adventuresome hands."
As part of this climb, Marval South Africa sponsored Lauren's trip, simply because she is a valued member of the team and it was for a great cause. Ed Carbutt, Executive Director, Marval South Africa says, "We are very proud to have sponsored Lauren Keulemans in her endeavour to conquer Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. Although thousands of people attempt it every year, some just don't make it to the top. This truly is a great achievement for any human being." He continues, "Lauren is a real champion and we are pleased to associate the Marval name with her. Her effort is an inspiration to us all, particularly in light of the good cause the climb was in aid of. Congratulations Lauren, you have really taken Marval to new heights."
Justifiably proud of her achievement, Lauren concludes, "Thanks so much to Marval for helping me raise money for my favourite charity and for believing in my climb and my cause. It was truly an awe inspiring experience."
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