About the Book

Kilimanjaro and Beyond – A Life-Changing Journey

It is January 16, 2009, at approximately noon local time and BARRY FINLAY and his son CHRIS are propped against a rock, struggling to draw a breath at Stella Point on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Their destination is tantalizingly close, yet there are two factors that will determine what happens next: the weather and -- more importantly -- the state of their health. Where they go from here is in the hands of their guides. They await the decision.

They are half a world away from their home in Ottawa, Canada. It has been an incredible journey from couch to mountaintop for Barry who just reached his 60th birthday the month before. Before leaving he develops a severe head cold limiting the amount of air he can take in when it is desperately required at altitude. Chris has two tears in the meniscus of his knee, which become excruciatingly painful during the climb. But overcoming the odds, they make their way up the mountainside. They experience the beautiful vistas from the mountain as they stop for rest and nourishment and they are simultaneously awestruck by the sheer beauty of the glaciers and saddened by the knowledge that they are disappearing. They can hear the blood pounding in their ears from the exertion and they experience the feeling of a damp towel clamped firmly over their mouths and noses as the altitude sucks the air from their lungs.

The journey doesn’t end on Kilimanjaro for Barry and Chris. In their hands is a Canadian flag bearing the names of over 200 donors who contributed to projects to help a desperate community on the shores of polluted Lake Victoria in Tanzania. As they see the smiling faces of the children, they understand that these kids and many more just like them around the world can have opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have with a little help from ordinary people who have more than enough. While presenting the flag at the school Barry is so moved by the experience that he continues to raise the money to complete funding for the extra classrooms and a well that will immediately benefit over 800 children and 50 households.

Barry describes his journey like this, “It is like entering into my senior years while looking through the eyes of our three-year old granddaughter as every day brings new meaning.” The experience is described in a sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, often exciting and always interesting way. The reader will come to the realization that anything can be accomplished and that there is nothing more satisfying than reaching a goal and giving others the opportunity to achieve theirs.