FUNDRAISING FOR THE CHILDREN’S HOSPICE IN TBILISI (GEORGIA)

Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Feb 06, 2017

It has been a while since our last post and we wanted to present you with a final update on our fundraising activities.

We were quite pleased to have managed to collect additional funds by the end of last year which even included a donor from the Georgian diaspora in New York. Our final amount has reached USD 4,509 which is way above our initial target of USD 3,500. These funds have been transferred and well received by the hospice in January. As communicated previously, the EBRD has agreed to double this amount and it is currently processing the transfer. So in total, the hospice is going to receive USD 9,018 from our fundraising and it is extremely grateful for that.

In the meantime, the hospice had its official opening of its new facility and is now fully operational. You can see some pictures of the opening if you follow the link below. The opening was quite a large event with TV broadcasts and many people from politics and business attending it (including the First Lady of Georgia). Quality and design of the building are of high standards and we hope that this is a valuable contribution to the children that now will be able to use the services there.

https://www.facebook.com/1379701432352390/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1770337089955487

Our fundraising was only possible thanks to a joint effort and your great support. It has been an amazing couple of months and we were overwhelmed to see the amount of support that we have received from so many different people from around the world. On this fundraising page alone, we reached more than 70 donors spanning from Mongolia, over Europe to the United States. In addition, we received many offline contributions which we have posted here as well. Again, we would really like to say a big thank you to each of you, you guys have been amazing!

Our journey ends here but for those of you who would like to continue supporting the hospice, you can do it directly. The building is now funded but ongoing operations and maintenance will remain a challenge. You can make donations online on their webpage (www.childrenshospice.org.ge). If you have any questions, just drop us a line, we will be more than happy to answer them.

All the best,

K & S

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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Dec 19, 2016

The last of days of our fundraising have arrived and we still managed to find additional donors for the Children’s Hospice. We would like to thank the following people for their kind contributions:

Josef Bell EUR 100

Graciela Groeneweg USD 100

EBRD Team from Environmental & Social Department that collectively donated GBP 130

Kai Wetzels EUR 30

Helene Bell EUR 20

Many thanks for all these contributions, we appreciate your support a lot!

K & S

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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Dec 15, 2016

Thanks to the support of the choir „Sound & Spirit Moenchengladbach Venn” http://www.sound-and-spirit.de/ that kindly contributed EUR 225 to our cause, we exceeded our target to USD 3,734!




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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Dec 09, 2016

Dear all,

In the last couple of weeks we have been able to collect additional funds offline. We would like to thank the following people for their kind contributions:

Regina Wetzels + her friends (Germany) EUR 250

Christine Hainzl (Austria) EUR 50

Julia Flaig (Germany) GBP 30

As a result, we are very happy to announce that including all funds collected on-and offline we have reached our funding target of USD 3,500! This is great news for us and the hospice and we would like to say big thank you to all of you that have contributed to this success. More than 70 people have donated from different countries around the world, this is quite an achievement.

Our plan is to keep the funding page open for another week and send the final amount afterwards to the hospice before the Christmas break. Since EBRD will double the final amount, we hope to motivate a few more to donate.

The hospice is now completed and its official opening will be later this month. They still lack funding for equipment and furniture (and many more things), so our contribution will arrive just at the right time.

Many thanks again,

K & S

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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Nov 16, 2016

As we were amongst the few people (if not the only ones) to climb the Island Peak twice, we were left with only two days to walk down the whole valley vs. four days originally scheduled. The way down was less of a challenge though. After having spent more than a week on 5,000m, we could feel how our bodies were gaining strength with every meter going down. Following a 9h hike and the last views on Mount Everest & Co, we arrived back in Namche Bazar (3,440m). This meant mineral water for one dollar only (in Chukhung and other villages high up, prices were up to USD 3.5 per liter) and more importantly high speed wi-fi. Since we were on the way back, it also meant that we could shower again (but who needs it after two weeks anyway?) and we could also extend our (risk) appetite for meals other than rice and potatoes (but not to be misunderstood, in fact, the various rice and potato dishes were really tasty over the two weeks and they gave us the necessary strength). As a matter of fact, we ran into our Italian friends again and they were more than glad to hear that we summited the peak too.

The last day we had a final hike of 7h to Lukla, our starting point, from where we would take a plane back to Kathmandu. Our accommodation in Lukla was an Austrian/Nepali joint venture and guess what, they had Wiener Schnitzel and Kaiserschmaarn for dinner. Even though the Schnitzel was everything else but a Schnitzel and they ran out of Kaiserschmaarn, our first meaty dinner for more than 2 weeks was still a success. Following dinner, we would have a little leaving party with all guides and porters including exotic dancing sessions to local music. That night we went really wild and stayed up until 10.30pm before going to bed (our previous daily routine in the mountains was 8-9pm the latest…).

Back in Kathmandu, we had two days left for sightseeing. Kathmandu itself is a huge city that may appear very chaotic but like other Asian cities has a lot of vibe to offer. Streets are full of people (and bigger animals like cows) on feet or in different types of vehicles moving around like ants in all different directions. It was impressive to watch the driving skills of Nepali people safely navigating through the traffic. In many places you can still see evidence of the earthquake, most public places, palaces and squares were at least partially damaged or destroyed. Not to mention the number of private houses. Unfortunately, a lot of international help did not properly arrive to the people and many were and are left on their own to cope with their situation. Therefore, it was really great to have met a German couple in our host’s home that came to Nepal to support a local school for impoverished children.

After all these adventures and impressions, it was time to say good bye to everyone. At this point, we would like to especially thank the following people that have made this trip so special:

- Yangi and Sonam for hosting us in their home, showing us around, perfectly organizing and arranging the entire trip, being always so helpful and kind and being just great people!

- Sonam and Nymaa, our guide and porter that were accompanying us for more than two weeks, helping us in all difficult situations and believing in us (maybe not at the beginning) and our second attempt to summit the Island Peak

-The Italian group for their company and Italian sausage in the base camp

-The assistant in the Chukhung lodge who provided us with wifi, popcorn and electricity for charging for free

Thanks to all these people (and many more), we had a very special time in Nepal which we will never forget. It is a great country with great people and we sincerely hope that many of you will be also able to visit it one day to experience the generosity and hospitality of the people there.

Final lessons learned:

- it remains ok not to shower for more than several days

- however, the issue with the socks is becoming bigger with every day passed

- market economics work at any altitude: demand elasticity for water is bigger than for wifi as everywhere else

- in fact there are Austrians that leave their country / Hobbit land and travel abroad

- Polish people may have small mountains but their love for them and desire to travel is the strongest. Great to have met so many of them

- Italians always eat in-style in any situation

The trip is now over and we are very happy to have been successful at summiting the peak but our second and more important challenge remains – our target of USD 3,500 and we want to be successful there too. We will continue with our fundraising until we reach this goal as the Children’s Hospice in Georgia is an important cause to us. Reaching the goal will mean doubling of the funds thanks to EBRD which would be great news for the hospice. We hope that you will support us in our efforts and together and with the help of EBRD we will be able to make a significant contribution to the lives of these children.

K & S


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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Nov 10, 2016

We made it; we climbed the Island

Peak eventually. But until then, there was a much bigger challenge and story behind than we expected...

We left Chukhung (the place of arrival coming from the Konma La Pass) after one night and reached the Island Peak base camp (5,100m) following a three-hour trek through a beautiful valley. The base camp offered well developed infrastructure with a cook, separate kitchen and dining tent. Diner was already served at 5pm as our departure time was set at 1am (yes, in the morning). This evening we were lucky to enjoy the company of an Italian group (with whom we were already crossing the pass). The Italians were a bunch of 11 old friends that have already traveled together on most continents climbing different mountains. As Italians are being world famous for their good lifestyle, it did not suprise us when they took out their Italian dry sausages as starters which they kindly shared with us. After almost two weeks of all kinds of rice and potatoes only, the sausages tasted like heaven.

Following the early diner, we tried to catch some sleep until the wake-up call at midnight. At breakfast (which could be diner given the time of the day/night) we were all sitting covered in many layers of jackets and pants; clearly, it was freaking cold. We started the climb past 1am. Most groups set off at the same time (around 30 people in total) which we could tell by the number of headlights walking around.

The ascent turned up to be quite challenging, steep and rocky. We were walking the trail in special high moutaineering shoes which we rented back in Chukhung. Those kept us warm but were heavy, similar to ski boots with a plastic cover. On the rocky trail, it was very difficult to walk with them and this turned out to be a fatal mistake. At 5,700m, following some difficult rocky passages and almost 4h of climbing, we had to give up and turn. The pain in the shoes was too much and the feet of one of us started to be numb. It was quite a dramatic scene, as it was still dark, cold and we were discussing on a cliff for several minutes what to do since turning down would have been such a great disappointment. However, Kristina caught the high altitude sickness on top of that (as a result of fatigue) and the decision has become clear... Back at base camp, the situation got more critical as the symptoms of the sickness became much stronger (terrible headache, fainting! etc). We had to act quickly and go further down in elevation. We were even discussing rescue by helicopter down to the valley as this sickness may become lethal if not properly treated.

Luckily, the situation relaxed in Chukhung and we were able to take some rest. In the evening it was terrible to see all the returning groups, exhausted but with big smiles on their faces. We decided between ourselves that we have to go back and try again (but this time with our own shoes).‎ Too much time and efforts have been spent on this to let it go that easily. Our guide' initial reaction was negative as assumed but we managed to convince him at last. ‎ Russian stubborness and high aspiration trumped any evident doubts.

So the following day, we headed off back to base camp with same procedure to follow (however without any Italian delicattesse but an old Belgium grumpy couple). People there greeted us like old regulars... without repeating ourselves, this time it went much smoother. The rocky part remained difficult but still was much easier to handle with our hiking shoes. We arrived at the crampon changing point (which is the beginning of the glacier at 5,850m) after 5h of hiking, just before sunrise. At that time we thought that worst would be behind us. On the glacier, we used ropes and a ladder to cross cravasses. When we passed the first difficulties, a final 200m ice wall leading to the top presented itself in the sunrise. It reminded us somehow of the GOT wall in the North... From the bottom it looked nearly impossible to climb, you could see though a few people in the wall moving slowly (including the grumpy couple that did the whole climb without a single rest!). We had to use fixed ropes and all our power to lift ourselves. It took us more than an hour to climb it up. Certainly, a much bigger challenge than expected from the google pictures.

However, reaching the top was as rewarding as imagined. At that moment, we were two of the most happy people in the world sharing our joy with everyone. Difficult to describe our feelings though. The views were fantastic. Unfortunately, we have only one pic from the top as our phone camera died due to cold. We have a few pics on the other camera that we will post later once we are back in Tbilisi.

It has been an incredible challenge and we are both happy to have made it. Now we are on the way back. We will also spend two days in Kathmandu from where‎ we will share further impressions with you.

K + S





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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Nov 05, 2016

Since last update, we went to see the Everest base camp (5,300m) which is deserted these days though as Everest season is in spring only. However, we still managed to see the famous Khumbu Icefall which is one of the most difficult passages and prime spot of many climbing dramas.

The following day, we took the Kongma La pass (5,535m) which offers a stunning view on a few 8,000m mountains with a lake in front. The pass took us to Chukungh from where the path leads to the Island Peak base camp (see pics below).

Next stop Island Peak; wish us luck guys.

K&S

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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Nov 01, 2016

7th day of our journey - for the last couple of days we were trekking up towards the Everest reaching Gorak Shep (5,182m), the last village before the Everest base camp. Even though we are well acclimatized, every step on this altitude is challenging. It is great to see how locals are literally flying over this terrain, some of them in sandals only.

This afternoon we reached the peak Kala Patthar (5,600m) which offers an amazing view on Everest and Nuptse. Clearly, this is the top of the world.

Tomorrow we plan to go to the Everest base camp and have the rest of the day off before we will cross a pass at 5,500 to reach our base camp from where we will start our ascent of the Island Peak.

Lessons learned so far:

- it is ok not to shower for several days

- it is less ok not to change your socks for several days

- toilet paper can become a precious good high up

- yak milk may not be advisable as yaks are male only

- Germany may be the country you want to retire after having met so many 60+ people from there

K & S

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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Oct 27, 2016

3rd day of our journey - we hiked up to 3,900m in the morning to enjoy the stunning view of Mt. Everest. The remaining day will be for resting and acclimatizing. The panorama of the Himalayas is breathtaking.

K & S



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Update posted by Sebastian & Kristina On Oct 24, 2016

On Sunday we participated at Tbilisi half marathon with the Children's hospice home care team. Feeling now well prepared for the journey - Kathmandu calling!

Keep continue supporting us to reach our target!

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