Seattle Backpackers Magazine is partnering with Unboxed Lives for their current endeavor because we believe in helping people as much as maintaining our wild environment. The following is an introduction to Unboxed Lives organization and their next challenge. We also believe that this is an endeavor that can succeed with a little help from SBM readers. We hope it can bring our readers together around one part of a global issue that we can handle and indeed fund as a community. Join them if you can. -ed

Nyalenda where the clininc is

Unboxed Lives

I discovered at a young age my connection to the mountains and raging rivers, and the way it enriches my spirit. My connection with the outdoors is much more than a hobby, it has become a defining practice in expanding my mind and feeding my soul. There is nothing quite like losing yourself in vast and unending power of Mother Nature. It is a sad fact that many of the most beautiful and truly wild places left on our planet are also inhabited by some of the poorest people on Earth. As a community of people who love the outdoors, it seems our responsibility to act on this fact.

In an effort to respect and care for the wild places of the Earth and those who live near them we sought to bring together two seemingly distant activities. A few friends and I had begun planning a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania a few months ago and were in the midst of pouring over details and preparations. My wife, Kolena asked, “Why not use your trek as a way to raise funds and awareness for our projects in Africa?” Why not indeed!

We laid out a plan to bring together the medical clinic project that Unboxed Lives is supporting in Kisumu, Kenya and my summit attempt of Kilimanjaro.

Partners in Climb

Unboxed Lives has been working to open a free and low cost medical clinic in the Kisumu, Kenya area since July of 2012. We have partnered with local leaders in conjunction with our Kenyan Director, Jack Mila, to create a resource for those living in the slums to gain access to lifesaving medicine. Our goal is to open and pay salaries for a single, specific medical clinic in Kisumu. We call this endeavor Partners in Climb.

We believe that the solutions to the issues that face the third world lie in the hands of local, progressive, and dedicated leaders who are in need of partnership. We believe that Great Vision Deserves Great Partnership. The vision exists in the world already, all we need is more awareness, more hands and more partnership with those who have the vision.

My whole being has been shaped by living near the wild places on Earth. Whenever I am in the grasp of its solitude and harsh beauty and I feel called to give back to the community of people who care for it and live near it. The people who call these places home often require so little, such basic needs but don’t have access to them. I have been to many places in the world and visited countless communities that have riches beyond measure, but somehow continue to exist in the depths of poverty and disease.

Through a shared passion and a shared vision, my wife and I along with our founding partner created the nonprofit community development organization called Unboxed Lives. Our mission is to be a catalyst for change all over the world, a resource for communities to source in order to aid their continued growth and development. We hope to be an example of the principles that can bring lasting and universal positive change.

Why Get Involved

We decided to create a campaign where our Kilimanjaro climbing group would raise funds for each foot of elevation that the mountain stands. In other words we would raise $19,341 for the 19,341 feet the mountain is tall. The array of challenges we will face on this climb are many in number. Temperatures on the mountain can vary from over 100 degrees in the day to below freezing at night. Starting the climb we will be in rain forest that receives 6 feet of rain annually and is home to an abundance of wildlife. Once in the high alpine desert and arctic conditions above 15,000 feet we will be subjected to freezing temperatures and an oxygen level that is half what it is at sea level. To cap it all off, summit day will begin at midnight and encompass 12-16 hours of climbing and descending all in one day. Exhaustion, altitude sickness, and physical injury will likely accompany us.

Though these challenges seem daunting they are minuscule in comparison to having to make a choice between feeding your family or going to the doctor. By bringing attention to the issues these communities face and helping to provide lifesaving medical care, I will consider these challenges welcome.

We have several ways you can help. Donations to fund the clinic are needed first and foremost, and every dollar goes directly to the clinic. We have no overhead and are paying for our trip out of pocket so the whole of the collected funds can benefit the clinic and its staff. Visit Partners in Climb to donate your time or pledge your support. Imaging what we could do as an outdoor community from Seattle. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress.

Unboxed Lives clinic
The crowd starts to gather at the opening of the clinic in October 2013
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