But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3 v 17-18
“It was February 2015 when I first saw the Fields of Life (FOL) Kilimanjaro Facebook post and within seconds I had decided to sign up.
After going through a difficult patch a few years earlier I found that I needed a focus, a goal to keep my mind occupied and to give me something to aim for, so signing up to climb to the “Roof of Africa” was a no-brainer. I had worked with Richard Spratt, at Bank of Ireland, prior to him accepting the post of CEO at FOL and that was the extent of my FOL knowledge. However, over the next 16 months I would come to understand the full extent of the work that FOL carry out in East Africa and how they are ‘Changing Lives and Building Hope’ each and every day.
We left Dublin on 13th August for five days in Uganda and nine days in Tanzania. Having never been to Africa before, Uganda was certainly an eye opener, a humbling and emotional experience. To see the level of poverty outside Kampala was heart-breaking. People living day to day with little food, walking long distances to fetch dirty water from the nearest stream or, if they were fortunate, the nearest well and living in mud huts with thatched roofs and no electricity. It was difficult to get my head around. The flight from Belfast to Uganda was only ten hours but it seemed like it had taken me to a different world entirely.
As a team we were able to witness the delight of the villagers in Pallisa where we officially commissioned the first of seven “FOL Kilitrekkers” wells. That was a special day and one that I will never forget. The smiles on the children’s faces and the gratitude of the men and women of the village, all because they now have access to clean water. No longer will they have to walk miles to collect dirty water, instead they can have clean water whenever they require it – it’s still hard to comprehend. Add to that a wasp attack, thunder, lightning, torrential rain and a live chicken being swung around a women’s head, it was a surreal day to say the least.
As for Mount Kilimanjaro; stunning scenery, fantastic company and great craic. Kilimanjaro was an amazing experience from the first day to the last. It will stay with me for as long as I live. It was tough, even brutal at times and I think everyone suffered at one stage from headaches, altitude sickness, nausea and my jokes but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends to climb with. Special mention must go to Ian Taylor Trekking and his team who are the ‘Best Team on the Mountain’ – simply awesome!
Why did I do it? Initially I did it to say that I had climbed Kilimanjaro but Uganda made me almost forget about Kili. The real story of our journey was not standing on the “Roof of Africa,” but having the opportunity and privilege to see first-hand the role FOL is playing in bringing clean water, education and hope to thousands of East Africans.
Fields of Life – Changing Lives…not only in East Africa but also in East Belfast.”
Paul Lindsay, FOL Kilimanjaro Trekker 2016