Rotarians trek across Borneo for polio
I n November, eight Rotarians climbed Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest mountains in Asia.
“We wanted to do something for polio that made Rotarians turn and say, ‘They’re mad!’” recalls Chee Woh Leong, of the Rotary Club of Johore Bahru, Malaysia.
To reach the peak, the climbers – all but one from District 3310, which also includes Brunei and Singapore – first hiked 200 miles over the remote, mountainous terrain of Sabah State on the island of Borneo.
“Apart from a handful of villages, we were in the middle of nowhere,” Leong says. “Daybreaks over the mountains were always beautiful, the early misty mornings almost magical.”
The group started from the city of Sandakan and ended at the District 3310 Conference in Kota Kinabalu.
“We are not supreme athletes. We are ordinary Rotarians attempting something out of the ordinary,” Leong says, noting that the team trained for months before setting out. “All of us will remember this for the rest of our lives.”
Local media covered the trek, generating valuable PR and donations for Rotary’s Challenge. “It took us 12 days,” Leong says. “But that’s nothing compared with Rotary’s journey to end polio.”
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0 Feet above sea level of Sandakan, the lowest point on the hike
13,435 Feet above sea level of Mount Kinabalu, the highest point on the hike
100,000 U.S. dollars District 3310 aims to raise for Rotary’s Challenge in 2011-12
96,997 U.S. dollars District 3310 had already raised as of January 2012