Australian trekkers begin adventure in historic Mandalay
After almost a year of fundraising, fitness training and feeling the nerves build up, a team of intrepid Catholic Mission supporters has landed in Myanmar to begin the adventure of a lifetime.
The eight travellers, including Catholic Mission’s own representative Sonja Krivacic, began the twelve-day Trek to Reach Out this week with a tour of one of the region’s most historic cities, Mandalay.
On Friday, they will head to the ancient former capital, Bagan, famous for its thousands of temples, hot air balloons, and picturesque landscapes.
Mrs Krivacic says it is an incredible start to the adventure. ‘Our first day in Myanmar was an experience for all of us,’ she said. ‘Especially the gentle hospitality provided by the local people here in Mandalay, from where Thibaw, the last king of Burma, ruled.
‘We’ve already shared the unforgettable experience of going to Mandalay Hill and watching as the locals make the 45-minute journey to the top to pay their respects at the pagoda.’
After spending the first few days exploring historical cities and stunning scenery, it will be down to the official business of hiking 60kms through central Myanmar, all for a good cause.
‘It will be a tough few days, sometimes trekking up to eight hours, but the reward will come in visiting the projects Catholic Mission supports here in Myanmar, which we have all supported by taking up this challenge,’ says Mrs Krivacic.
The team’s youngest trekker, 15-year-old Matthew Clark from Roseville, agrees. ‘I’m a bit nervous, I think I’m going to be exhausted by the end of it, but my mindset is to just keep on going,’ he said.
‘Now that I’m here, I can grasp exactly what the money I’ve raised is going towards.’
Mixed feelings: Matthew Clark (middle, with parents Vera and Stuart) is nervous about the trek, but grateful for the opportunity. (Photo: CM/Sonja Krivacic)
The team will stop at projects in the country’s largest city, Yangon, which provide education, shelter and health support for vulnerable children. During the lead-up to the challenge, the trekkers raised a combined $25,000 for the projects.
They will finish the trip with a Holy Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Yangon and a visit to the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda, among the most holy Buddhist sites in the world.
To learn more about how you can support the cause, and Catholic Mission’s critical projects for children in Myanmar, head to www.catholicmission.org.au.