I had the opportunity to connect with Kenna in the midst of his mission on the mountain:
What is your ultimate goal being there?
The thought behind our work is to create moments in time where we can shed light on human rights issues and then activate solution-minded granting of funds to the heroes on the ground doing the work. For this project, we identified 3 necessary beneficiaries. One will build wells (Playpumps International). The second will clean the water (CSDW - Children Safe Drinking Water Program). The third will provide education on how to maintain the wells, clean the water and develop an economy around it (UNHCR -UN High Commissioner for Refugees). My non-profit along with the U.N. Foundation will police those funds and make sure that they go where they are meant to go.
What did you do to prepare for this journey?
We have Jason Walsh as our climb trainer. He has set all of the climbers up with interval training and VO2 testing to make sure we are fit enough to do this and make it, but if you ask me if I have begun training….eh. I'd like to think I am doing it (in secret).
What most surprises you now that you're there?
That we ARE here. So many hurdles to overcome and sheer force of will to make this happen. Everyone is down for each other. Such a diverse mix of people. It is a representation of mankind. It's everything I ever wanted and even more than I could have hoped for.
Describe a typical day?
At this point we only have begun today. Have yet to feel the basic schedule. We visited a village yesterday... The idea was to make sure we all understood, first hand, why we were climbing this great Mountain. It was a sobering and motivating experience for everyone, including me.
What do you hope people will take from your experience there?
It starts with keeping the clean water we have. Conservation. But when it comes to developing nations, it comes down to sending water, whether it be $1 which would give someone 50 days of clean water or $1000 which would give a person several years of clean water, it comes down to supporting them by directly donating funds. Outside of that, we can all find ways to donate our time, whether it be fundraisers or creating our own events to raise awareness and funds. We can all be summit seekers. We have a kit like that on our site at www.summitonthesummit.com
What's the next step in all of this?
Climb and ascend to the top of this mountain and raise awareness for this massive subject that is taken for granted.
What's the call to action? What should people do now that they've read this?
To know that over a billion people go without the simple basic necessity of water is enough knowledge to say "We've got to do something about this." To advance into specifics and realize that this crisis is the beginning of a domino effect that hinders education, medical development and economic growth makes it even more important. Think of it this way, if 70% of the reason why people go to hospitals in developing nations globally is water-bourne disease, imagine what resources we would free up if we were to solve the water problem. Then, keep in mind that the visits to the hospital, the search for clean water and the long lines to receive water after traveling miles to get there will keep people from being able to go to school and learn about HIV, Malaria and more. Water is the pivotal issue of the majority of problems that plague developing nations.
Describe where you are as you write this.
I am in the Rover headed to the mountain. We have all had little sleep. Bags missing, last minute changes. My team is tired. But there is an electricity in the air here.