MEDA in the News

Grande Prairie, AB hiker to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro for charity

Source: "Local hiker to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro for charity" by Jocelyn Turner in the Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune

Bobby-Teichroeb-PSA local resident is gearing up for a hike of a lifetime.

Bobby Teichroeb, 26, departs July 3 to leave his footprints on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as part of a charity hike through MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates), an organization dedicated to helping impoverished countries.

"It's a mountain that I've definitely looked at before. I've heard of people climbing it and the challenge that it is for people. It's 19,200 feet," he said.

The possibility of climbing the mountain was presented to him by a couple of family friends, Peter Dueck and his son Jirah, from Manitoba.

"(They) wanted to do a father/son hike," he said. "Me and my dad (Peter) were going to do it but he can no longer make it."

Teichroeb said his father was all geared up to join him on the hike however his doctor has cautioned against it.

Hikers from all across North America ranging in ages from 20-70 will join Teichroeb. The group of 16 hikers will also be raising funds to reach a collective goal of $250,000.

"The organizations that we're raising the money for do a really good job with the money that they do get from our fundraising in terms of helping people help themselves," he said. "I really like the model that they use. Instead of just helping people... (find) a temporary fix, getting them food for a week, two weeks or three or whatever it is, (they) help them try to make a living and fend for themselves."

While making the trek up the mountain, Teichroeb and his fellow hikers will be visiting some of the areas where their fundraising has benefited the local people. One of the stops will be at a facility which distributes insecticide-treated bed nets to protect pregnant woman and young children against malaria.

Teichroeb has been training for the experience, but he noted his job as operations manager at Happy Trails RV, now in its busy season, and moving into a newly built home has put a bit of a damper on it.

"It's tough to work all day, run in off your feet and the go home and try to run some more," he said. "I've got really good gear and lots of motivation myself to do this hike but I haven't been devoting time to it."

But Teichroeb is certain he'll fare well. In the past, Teichroeb hiked in Peru in the small village of Huaraz, and lived in Egypt for a few months when he was 18.

"It is very exciting to have the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro, and it's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I love having new experiences and facing challenges like the one ahead of me," he said.

"Equally important to me and everyone else going on this trip is having the chance to make a difference with the money we're raising. $250,000 has the potential to make a big impact down there, so we're all very excited for that."

So far, Teichroeb has raised about $3,300 and has vowed to match up to $5,000 for those who donate on his sponsorship page. To make a donation, visit www.meda.org/sponsor-a-climber. As of June 30, the hikers had collectively raised $234,730.

For more information about the organizations or the hike, visit www.meda.org/climb.

Wilmot climbers prepare to scale Kilimanjaro

Source: "Wilmot climbers prepare to scale Kilimanjaro" by Scott Miller Cressman in the New Hamburg Independent

Two climbers with Wilmot ties will join a team from Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) trekking to the top of Africa in two weeks.

The team of 16 departs for Tanzania on July 4 for an eight-day climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro that will take them through five different eco-systems‚ including rainforest, alpine desert and glaciers, on the continent's highest mountain.

Seven climbers are from Waterloo Region, and they're joined by people from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, New Hampshire and Alberta. These MEDA supporters will trek with the organization's president, Allan Sauder.

Each climber is pledged to raise at least $5,000 to support MEDA's efforts to use business and entrepreneurship to reduce global poverty. The entire climb hopes to raise $250,000.

Baden resident Richard Steinmann is ready to throw his weight into the last fundraising push before he leaves in just over two weeks. For physical preparation, the real estate broker has added more interval and cardio training to his regular workouts to be ready for the trek. That means he's running 1,000 stairs several times a week, and hiking with weight to simulate carrying his gear up Kilimanjaro's inclines.

"For me it's going to be a good physical challenge as well as a good mental challenge," he said. "I've got plenty of determination."

He's also been pouring over a long list of advice and tips MEDA has provided to each climber. Bringing the right sleeping bag, boots and cold-weather clothing will play a big part in making this trip a pleasant or painful experience.

Steinmann has been a MEDA supporter for over 30 years, and already travelled to many different countries to help with various projects.

"I've seen the work they do, I've seen the effect it has," Steinmann said, citing a mosquito net business in East Africa that MEDA helped launch. The sustainable business has distributed 35 million nets and saved an estimated 200,000 lives.

He jumped at the chance to make Kilimanjaro his next partnership with the Mennonite development agency. MEDA's money often is matched by government grants, making it especially effective, Steinmann said.

"I like a challenge," the Baden man said. "It's an accomplishment for myself, but it's a good way to support MEDA too."

Also climbing next month are Joanne and Trevor Beattie of Waterloo. The couple's young twins will make it hard for them to be gone two and a half weeks, said Joanne (formerly a Wagner), who grew up in New Hamburg. But the Beatties were still quick to jump onboard.

"It's a group of people who have a passion for MEDA," Joanne said. "It's a way to improve awareness for the association and generate some funds."

Her father Doug Wagner climbed Kilimanjaro last summer and had a wonderful experience, she added. He's been their biggest supporter as the couple prepares and fundraises for this trip.

She took advantage of the snowy winter to train by cross-country skiing, and has since switched to cycling and swimming.

The bigger challenge is raising money for MEDA, and the Beatties are trying to find creative ways to collect their $10,000. They organized a winter camping trip in Algonquin that raised funds, have been selling maple syrup and then planned a charity bike ride for their friends and acquaintances.

This is a personally expensive trip for each climber. Besides the airfare, park enrtance fees and climbing fees, they also must pay a half-dozen local guides, cooks and porters for each climber to help on their 10 days to the summit and back.

The guides will set the pace and check the North American climbers' oxygen levels and overall health as they ascend — the extreme heights can cause altitude sickness, which ranges from mild nausea to serious delirium. To avoid this, the MEDA team is taking it slow: eight days to acclimatize as they approach the 5,895-metre peak, then two more days to descend by a more direct path.

Many thousands of visitors attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year. Not everyone reaches the top, and a handful die each year during the attempt.

Donors can support the MEDA climbers online at meda.org/sponsor-a-climber.

MEDA mounts fundraiser trek

Source: "MEDA mounts fundraiser trek" in the Mennonite World Review (In Print)

WATERLOO, Ont. — Supporters of Mennonite Economic Development Associates will have an opportunity this summer to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with president Allan Sauder to aid MEDA's work in creating business solutions to poverty.

"We have set an ambitious goal of raising $250,000," Sauder said. Climbers also will visit MEDA project sites in the country. One of these facilitates distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to protect against malaria in pregnant women and young children.

To learn more about the MEDA Kilimanjaro Climb or to sponsor a climber, visit meda.org/climb.