Seeing the Light of Kilimanjaro

In Kissing Kilimanjaro: Leaving it All on Top of Africa I shared with readers the life-changing bus ride I took from Arusha to Moshi, Tanzania.   I ended up packed onto a local bus sitting next to a young boy who was going blind from Trachoma.   This simple bus ride effected me so deeply because just two weeks prior I had cleaned out my medicine cabinet and thrown out a small bottle of anti-bacterial eye drops.  Literally, my garbage could have saved that boys vision. The boy was suffering from Trachoma.  He had an eye infection from washing in putrid water.  It's a somewhat common affliction in the developing world and I left Tanzania with little hope for the young boy.  Since then we've sent eye drops to Moshi with Kilimanjaro climbers and partnered with the Children's Safe Drinking Water program to prevent others from going blind.   But all of this was too late for that boy on the bus and I held little hope for him…until recently. I just learned about the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust.  It's a partnership with the Perkins School for the Blind to help those already afflicted learn to live and thrive with their blindness.  In fact, in 2005, 8 blind climbers reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, demonstrating that the word "disability" is a relative term. For years I've been haunted by the thought of that young boy on the bus.  I was convinced that his life was over, all because of the water he had access to.  But as I learned on Kilimanjaro, life isn't defined by our limitations.  It's defined by what we do with the simple gifts and talents we have.  I'm thrilled to know there are people in Tanzania who could help that young boy achieve all of his potential, with our without sight. I encourage you to donate to the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust.  You can also follow Paul Polman as he runs the NYC Marathon to raise funds and awareness.  Paul's another ordinary person, doing simple and ordinary things to achieve extraordinary results like helping a blind boy live a happy and productive life.
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