Inspiring Women to Discover Their Inner Strength
Pat is passionate about Inspiring women to reach their full potential. Volunteering and helping others have always been part of her life. She worked as a telephone counsellor for many years in her native town, Durban. Driven and always full of energy, Pat devoted her life to teaching and empowering single and divorced women who have been abused or were struggling financially.
Pat’s commitment didn’t change, even after a homeless young woman robbed her. She had kindly taken in the woman and a small baby into her own home four years ago.
Pat knows what it means to struggle. She faced financial problems herself when her husband lost his job as a manager after more than 30 years of service. On top of this, he didn’t receive any unemployment benefit or pension. The firm he had worked for closed down. Pat found herself struggling to make ends meet for her family of six.
Pat Maharaj on overcoming difficulties and climbing her first mountain
Despite all her setbacks, Pat continued to give herself to those in need. About one year ago, she dreamt about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. To sustain herself throughout this project, Pat took a photo of herself and pasted it onto a photo of the mountain. She pinned it on her fridge. Over the months, she visualized the climb over and over.
Moshi, a small town in the foothills of the Kilimanjaro, is the starting point for many climbers seeking to conquer Africa’s biggest mountain. In these idyllic surroundings, I met 55-year-old Pat Maharaj from Durban in South-Africa. She takes us on her personal journey to self-discovery.
“Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was like therapy to me”, stated Pat. After having faced many problems in her recent past, she decided to let go and to embark on a life-changing experience. After one year of intensive training, she made it to the summit of the majestic mountain on the morning of her 55th birthday.
No mean feat for this 1, 50-meter-tall South-African lady who had never climbed before.
“Thankfully, I didn’t suffer from altitude sickness or nausea. I also worked my way up slowly, slowly, pole by pole, one step at a time”, says Pat.
She made it a point to help other climbers when she noticed they were in difficulty. This was the case with three young women, who had run out of water. Because of the cold, their water supply had frozen in their bottles. Contrary to other passers-by, Pat offered them her own water.
As it turned out, the four women were fellow South-Africans. They discovered this afterwards when they ran into each other at Kilimanjaro airport, and the three women wanted to thank their “Indian” saviour.
”All my struggles made me stronger and more determined to endure and persevere. I hope to inspire other women to discover their inner strength and to make their dreams a reality”.
This is a guest post by Heidi Verdonck. Read more about Heidi in her bio below.