Week 27 sees me starting on a memorable day – exactly halfway.
182 days behind me.
182 days ahead of me.
Half way rock’s where my moment takes place (albeit that I must hike back down due to strong icy winds.) It snowed up top this morning but due to constant waves of rain predicted I chose the drier afternoon. After three days in the wet, I can safely say I loved being dry and having a view up top as well. Hard to believe I’ve climbed the equivalent vertical kilometers of 37 Mt Everest’s and raised R226 000. I’m very proud of what has been achieved with the help of all of you.
Interesting thought is that in life, we have no idea of when halfway will be. At any moment we could have less days ahead of us than we’ve got behind us.
I celebrate with two of my favourite ladies – Lisa and Jessie – at Mykonos in Sea Point. My brain still doesn’t compute that I’ve done 183 days (at that point) which is the equivalent of thirty-seven Mt Everest’s. How appropriate too then, that they’ve both done the most number of hikes; Lisa 19 Jessie 13 (at the end of her week here from San Francisco)
There isn’t enough paper in the world to talk about how special these two are and how they define support. Perhaps a chapter dedicated to each in my book is needed.
Joined by Carrey and her son, the four of us including Jessie on her second consecutive day, end up chatting to a tourist wondering if he’s on the right track. William is from Holland and three days into his month-long visit.
We welcome him to join us instead of hiking alone. I’m rewarded with his tales of why he chose South Africa and that he spent a month in Nepal the previous year. I might not be able to travel this year, but with all the tourists that have joined me thus far? I feel I’ve been to many distant lands.
At 24 this man already is far wiser than his years.
Sharing his experience of acclimatizing to Nepal’s food, culture, altitude and being alone reminded me of my trip to Iceland and the value of traveling alone. His plan is to get tattoos from each place that speaks to what he learned while there.
His Nepal tattoo is incredible. Just the story on the tiny village it was done in would be enough. Written in Nepalese, its one of their beliefs: Everyone you meet is superior to you in some way.
Gold nugget: In writing this I’m making notes to do my best to listen (not hear) more to understand what people share instead of just trying to respond with what I already know.
We head to Mojo market for a drink to chat more. San Francisco, Cape Town and Leiden only needing one beautiful thing to connect: our travels.
Non-Profits versus For Profit companies
Jessie, who’s also involved in empowering others around the world by building schools with an organisation called Pencils of Promise, and I head to my dear friends 40th. I pick empty seats next to gents that own a gift store in Cape Quarter called Baraka. Incredibly, this happens to be the store where Jessie bought me gifts last year before she left.
Conversation was great all night and later that evening, one’s whole demeanour changes at the mention of my project and raising money, due to one question: ‘how do I know where the money’s going?’
Simple answer: always ask – reputable non-profits won’t have any issue sharing all their info.
It’s something I’m trying to instill with people this year; to do their homework. Habitat for Humanity, The Sunflower Fund and One heart are all registered Non-Profits as well as certified with SARS (South African Revenue Service) to provide donors with Section 18A’s – a document that allows you to claim your donation back from the tax you owe.
What’s more interesting though, is where the discussion went after we answered his question. He wasn’t satisfied that not 100% of funds raised always goes to said causes. This baffles me. If 80% of funds raised goes to the cause and 20% to administration costs which allows the organisation to help people, isn’t that great? (Disclaimer here – check with each individual organisation what their percentages are – some guarantee 100% of donations go to their cause)
Why is it we so quick to judge where and what the money’s being used for with non-profits; and yet have no problem with business practices of For Profit companies?
There’ve been some serious abuses of money management in Non-profits, but there’s been just as many cases of fraud and unethical business practices in for profits.
Whether you donate money or buy from a company – is it not fair to say we know both have running costs?
Jessie put it beautifully when she said, ‘we vote with every dollar we spend’.
My wish is we’d hold more companies accountable for their business practices. We forget we have the power. If a company still tests on animals – everyone choosing not to buy their products because of that means they’re out of business.
When faced with deciding whom to donate to, here are some tools to help you separate the cheaters from the world beaters:
- Ask for Financials. Reputable companies will have these available for you.
- They are vague. Perhaps their websites don’t give too much information about what they do, how they do it, when they started, who the Directors are etc – but that could mean they inexperienced and simply use it as a funnel supplying emails and contact details instead. However, if making contact via these channels is difficult and vague, trust your gut as it will certainly alert you.
- Any organisation should be able to supply you with references for what they do. If a charity builds homes; ask for details of where and who received it. Again, if people get uppity with you on the phone to supply this and your gut sounds alarm bells – You have the right to say no. It shouldn’t be difficult to get info like this.
I said it twice already but its worth telling you again. Trust your gut.
The reality is we live in a society where scams are something to watch for, but just because one woman cheats on you doesn’t mean the rest will. If you hear about a non-profit being ‘dodgy’ don’t paint all of them that way.
Vote for a better world with how you spend your money.
See you on the mountain.
If you’d like to invest in 365 Ubuntu’s Project, please click on http://www.365climbs.com and you’ll be kept up to date with who we empower. Stay tuned for our delivery of books to help teach children to read coming up this month at two schools.