March 6th 2020 saw 12 intrepid MCM explorers leave the Malaysian peninsula for a residential service trip to Sabah in Borneo. The trip concluded 5 months of training and fundraising, which prepared our pupils for the combined challenge of climbing the mighty Kinabalu and a day of service laying tyre footpaths in the local village of Kiau. It was a privilege to watch our MCM pupils throw themselves into the village project, which really was back breaking work, play with the children and interact so confidently with the village elders.
Our second day saw the group begin their ascent to base camp at Laban Rata, a steady climb to a guest house above the clouds. At 3am the following morning, dressed in thermals and armed with head lamps we began the final push towards the summit, which stands proudly at 4095 meters high. The weather was kind and we were blessed with amazing 360 degree views following a beautiful sunrise. It is to the credit of the entire team that we all made it to the peak; the support and camaraderie shown towards each other was truly inspiring. The physical challenge of the climb, involving endurance at high altitude and long periods of walking in the dark on uneven terrain cannot be underestimated. As Callum from Munawir House said so aptly, “The difficulty, both mentally and physically, made summiting the mountain and watching the sunrise even more beautiful’.
Our very tired but extremely proud and excited team returned to MCM on Monday 9th March. Without doubt, their experience had been transformative. They had achieved so many things but learnt, I hope, even more. The value of a physical and mental challenge reaches far beyond the challenge itself.
“The best way to make smaller a big mountain is to climb that mountain;
the best way to shorten a long road is to travel on that road!
Anything that looks big or long to you is actually because you didn’t go to it,
because you didn’t live it!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan,