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As such, the aim was to create awareness on mental illnesses, to raise funds for the mental health project through the sale of t-shirts and wristbands and to create a platform for participants to take a “mental health break” from their usual busy schedules.

The day started with the lighting of the 20thanniversary torch at the St. Martin CSA premises, about 100 participants boarded the vehicles. Not even the traffic snarl-up along the busy Naivasha highway could dim the participants’ enthusiasm to take part in the hike judging from their happy and eager faces. Hikers were treated to a perfect warm-weather away from the cold and rainy Nyahururu and a magnificent view of Lake Naivasha, Ol Karia Geothermal plant and the beautiful flora and fauna in the Mt. Longonot Park. 

IMG 9543 sWhile we arrived at the park later than expected, the participants challenged themselves to conquer the mountain which resonates with conquering personal mountains of challenges and stressful situations. A key learning point shared by one of the participants was that she had to support another participant on their way up despite her desire to race to the top. This reflects our need to be mindful of our friends, colleagues and neighbours in the journey of life and extend a helping hand. 

In addition to the hiking activities, the participants were treated to great music in the wild and a few team building games. This was followed by a mental health sensitization talk by Catherine from Vijana Tustawi, a Nairobi based initiative and co-organizer for the hike, which works with young people to fight issues of depression and suicide. 

Despite reaching home late and tired, it was a good experience for everyone with several hikers asking if we’ll do it again. We would like to thank all the participants and sponsors who made the day a success. To be part of the mental health cause, you can purchase a t-shirt at Sh. 1000, a wristband at Sh. 200 or send your contribution to the St. Martin CSA Paybill Number 921023. Won’t you have a mentally healthy day?

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