It was still dark, and would be for hours, when Lilliana Libecki crawled from her tent. She and her father, Mike Libecki, were five days into their push to summit the highest free-standing mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro. Preparations were made and they started the final leg of their ascent. After hours of hiking, the faint glow from the horizon painted the mountain side and they were greeted by an unforgettable sunrise. As they reached the summit emotions ran high and Mike and Lilliana embraced.
This summit signified more than just a father-daughter adventure. At 12 years old, Lilliana had already been to six of the world’s continents. This summit celebrated the seventh. With a passion for exploration and humanitarian work that was instilled in her by her parents, Lilliana has now visited 16 countries and experienced their landscapes, people and cultures.
“This whole thing was her idea. She planted the seed for this entire trip,” commented Mike Libecki. “Africa was her seventh continent, the last one she had to tick off the list, and she wanted to do Kilimanjaro.”
The summit wasn’t the only objective of the trip, Lilliana wanted to do something to give back. While planning the expedition the Libeckis ended up at the offices of World Wide Trekking (WWT). This adventure based company was also closely tied to Human Outreach Project (HOP), a humanitarian effort that endeavored to help the areas in which Worldwide Trekking would visit. Dean Cardinale, WWT and HOP founder, not only provided the logistics for the climb, but also happens to own an orphanage called the Kilimanjaro Kids Community (KKC) near the base of the mountain.
After learning that the orphanage was in need of power and lights, a plan to install solar systems was added to the itinerary. Dell computers also joined in and sent multiple computers to help the children acquire more technical skills and education.
After the climb, six select Goal Zero and NRG employees met the expedition team as they descended from Kilimanjaro. These two teams joined forces to provide over 1KW of solar power to the 13 beautiful children that call the KKC home and their caretakers. Over three days they brought sustainable power and light to each and every building on the KKC premises, along with a local church and a public school.
“The Kilimanjaro Kid’s Community had very few lights on an unreliable utility system. What it did have was an incredible sense of love, care, and beauty,” said Goal Zero Employee David Rosner. “The family atmosphere within the premises makes anyone feel at home. The stark contrast from dark to light is evident. The children can study into the night, safely navigate to the bathroom in the dark, and know that their property is safe. The music heard from the kitchen to the corral bring smiles to the workers, and the power for their newly donated computers brings the knowledge of the world to this little village in the middle of nowhere.”
When all was said and done, the team left the smiling children behind. Lilliana’s dreams of helping were fulfilled.
“I hope while traveling I can give back to the planet and people in some way to better the quality of life,” said Lilliana.
To learn more about the Human Outreach Project visit: www.humanoutreachproject.org