Dunedin teenager Quin Latta is off on the adventure on a lifetime, travelling to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.
At 17, Quin is the youngest member of a 16-person team to tackle the eight-day trek up the mountain, raising awareness and funds for Orphans Aid International.
The New Zealand charity rescues and provides care for orphans and abandoned children in Uganda, India, Romania and Russia.
The Mt Kilimanjaro challenge team includes people of a broad range of ages and backgrounds, including mother and daughter Heather and Alisha Tripp from Gore, along with Orphans Aid International chief executive Sue van Schreven, her husband and two sons.
The Latta family heard about the trip through a friend who works in the Orphans Aid shop in Dunedin, and Quin jumped at the chance to take part.
“I said yes immediately, and then realised that it was going to be a big commitment of time and money,” Quin said.
“It’s going to be worth it though, it’s a very exciting project to be part of.”
As well as climbing for an important cause, Quin’s involvement in the trip is his final “assignment” to complete his home-school studies. His parents and siblings are supportive and pleased he has such an exciting opportunity.
A keen tramper and sportsman, who has been working part-time as a construction labourer for his uncle, Quin is confident that he has the fitness to cope with the demanding Mt Kilimanjaro trek.
“I feel that I have some experience, although I have never done anything that high – Mt Kilimanjaro is 5895m,” he said.
“I’m just focused on doing it and reaching the top.”
Quin left Dunedin on Wednesday and departed Auckland yesterday, travelling through Singapore to Uganda, where he and the team will spend a week at Orphans Aid International’s Imuka (Rise Up) family strengthening project.
The project works with families in extreme hardship to help them stay together and keep their children, and involves classes, business skills training, and ongoing mentoring.
Team members have raised about $23,000 in total so far for the project, including about $1800 raised by Quin.
Upon arriving in Tanzania, the team will take the Lemosho route up Mt Kilimanjaro, supported by a large team of guides and porters.
“It’s good to help support the local economy, and some of the money we are paying them will be going to support an orphanage.”
After the hike, Quin will spend time staying with friends in Nairobi, meaning his stay in Africa will be close to a month. He will turn 18 years old during the trip. Upon his return to Dunedin, Quin plans to seek a building apprenticeship.
Quin is raising funds for the Imuka project on https://kilimanjaro2019.everydayhero.com/nz/quin-s-challenge