Thuraya is a proud supporter of Gulf for Good, a Dubai-based charity organization, and its activities targeted at helping underprivileged communities around the world. In its latest expedition in July 2014, adventurers made the trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, marking the seventh time Gulf for Good has attempted to scale Africa’s highest peak. Polly Gotseva shares with us more about her experience in the expedition and how Thuraya’s mobile satellite equipment supported them throughout the climb.
The Trek to the Roof of Africa marked my fourth adventure with Gulf for Good. Aimed at supporting two charity initiatives, the Tanzania & Village Education Project and Larchfield Charity Organization, the funds raised by each participant will be used to build classrooms as well as a purpose-built children’s home that can accommodate up to 300 children.
The trek itself has been one of the most physically and emotionally challenging experiences I ever had, requiring each of the participants to push beyond our physical limits. Still, we managed to complete the trek in six days, taking the Marangu Route. We experienced extreme cold—with temperatures dropping to as low as -15⁰C—and had to cope with the lack of oxygen and fatigue as we got closer to the summit. Still, the entire team was enthusiastic and kept each other’s spirits up as the trek got more challenging every step of the way.
Having some fun interacting with the children before the real adventure, taken and posted with the Thuraya SatSleeve
Personally, it was one of those life-changing moments where you are faced with the unexpected. You ask yourself: How is your body going to react to the altitude? Will you even succeed?
I was really glad to have the Thuraya SatSleeve with me throughout the expedition as it allowed me to easily convert my personal mobile device into a satellite phone. Apart from its portability, its ability to connect in remote, mountainous environments further makes it the ideal communications device during the expedition. It helped me keep in constant contact with my husband, who provided the encouragement and words of assurance that I needed most during such a difficult climb.
When you’re up on the highest peak, the ability to simply get in touch with your loved ones can mean a lot. Knowing that I can make a phone call in any circumstance, the satellite phone becomes a pillar of emotional support—not just for me but also for my husband, who can be assured of my well-being.
When we finally reached the highest summit of Kilimanjaro, I was quite overwhelmed by the spectacular view from the top. The descent was equally challenging, but the whole journey felt more like a celebration. We were filled with immense pride and a sense of achievement after successfully summiting Mount Kilimanjaro.
More importantly, we managed to raise about US$80,000 for the children back at the village. Education is key to opening up more opportunities and improving the future of these children, and I can’t wait to see the money put to good use!
Prior to the expedition, we had the chance to visit the Village project. It was great to see the children running all around us, dancing with wide smiles across their faces and flowers in their hands. We spent some time together, having lunch and playing football. The children were also intrigued by the satellite phones we were using, pretending to make phone calls with it and posing for pictures.
We were grateful to be equipped with Thuraya equipment as it not only allows us to communicate but also provides us a sense of security knowing that help is just a phone call away during emergency situations.
There will be an upcoming charity challenge in Mongolia in October, and I hope that Thuraya will be able to support us just the way they have been doing the past four years.