By Allison Riese
John Rudolf, the Gonzaga friend and benefactor attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest this spring, arrived at Everest Base camp Tuesday (April 13). Rudolf’s climb is dedicated to raising financial support for four nonprofit organizations that he is actively engaged with, including the Zags in Zambia programs. So far, Spike has appeared in several of John’s photo posts and a video “Go Zags from Namchee Bazaar”! Follow John’s blogs and comment to cheer him and Spike on.
At his Spokane send-off party, John emphasized that he is going to give the climb his very best effort, while also fulfilling Ed Viestur’s maxim: “To summit is optional. To get back down safely is mandatory.” Right now, John is slowly acclimating to increasingly higher altitudes. Similarly, the work Gonzaga is doing in Zambia will build slowly, on a foundation of relationships to ensure our healthy, long-term presence in service abroad.
In Zambia, Gonzaga students explore academically and socially relevant topics, in context, and take direct action to address economic, environmental and educational challenges through three different programs. For example, in the Gonzaga-in-Chimfunshi program students learn psychology, biology or engineering at the 14,000-acre, Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust.
This reserve, located on the Kafue River in protected Miombo forest, is a nonprofit refuge that cares for a wide variety of sick, wounded or unwanted animals but its primary residents are more than 125 orphaned chimpanzees. In addition to these ecological wonders, students interact with local residents and develop community outreach programs to benefit them, particularly women and children. Learn more about Chimfunshi.
Rudolf’s dedication, tenacity and generous spirit have inspired so many of us at Gonzaga to reflect on the aims of our global engagement efforts, particularly in Africa where the needs can seem so immense.
“Taking on challenges, extending one’s limits, having fun with great companions, and pitching in to help others sure adds meaning and fulfillment to my life.” – John Rudolf ‘7 Summits’ Web site. Learn more about Gonzaga’s programs in Africa and how you can support them.