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Dear Friend,   
This year, thanks to your support, the rural poor in 278 communities worldwide have experienced hope-filled transformation. As we celebrate the Christmas season, we're celebrating the changes that are taking place for families in difficult circumstances. In the countries where we work, story after story has brought encouragement as we see transformation taking place in the lives of children, parents, grandparents, and husbands and wives.    
Flora Harry Mamuya lives in the Tanzanian village of Lyasongoro. She and her husband, a schoolteacher, have two teenage children, a boy and a girl. Flora joined a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) in 2008, and she says her involvement with Plant With Purpose Tanzania has changed her family.
"I would quarrel with my husband due to family expenses since he was the only supporter financially," Flora explains. The stress of poverty was almost more than they could bear.
Through VSLA, Flora was able to contribute to her family's finances. "After joining Plant With Purpose Tanzania, I was able to save money little by little weekly while undertaking different trainings," she says. After attending training workshops focused on entrepreneurship, Flora took out a loan from her VSLA group and invested in a small business where she sold shoes. She split her profits in two: half for regular family expenses, and half for toward purchasing a plot of land and building a house. They are now putting on the roof and getting ready to move in.
"Peace has now improved in our family since I am also contributing financially," Flora shares. "I am also more blessed after getting involved in [land] conservation activities because I harvest more food from my land."
This Christmas, you can help others like Flora to experience hope and the dignity of providing for their families.
Please Give Now 
Plant With Purpose ( transforms lives in rural areas where poverty is caused by deforestation. For over 25 years, Plant With Purpose has provided lasting solutions to heal the relationship between people and their environment by planting trees, implementing sustainable agriculture programs, create economic opportunity through micro-enterprise, and encouraging spiritual renewal.

WSKI 17 Sugarloaf Maine--TV interview with Johnna Haskell "Wings of Kilimanjaro"


Haskell prepares for Wings of Kilimanjaro

Fundraiser at The Rack set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

By BJ Bangs Irregular Staff Writer

So far, Carrabassett Valley’s Johnna Haskell has raised over $1,700 towards the $10,000 cost of participating in February’s Wings of Kilimanjaro. Here she is fundraising at Sugarloaf’s Homecoming. (BJ Bangs photo) So far, Carrabassett Valley’s Johnna Haskell has raised over $1,700 towards the $10,000 cost of participating in February’s Wings of Kilimanjaro. Here she is fundraising at Sugarloaf’s Homecoming. (BJ Bangs photo) CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Johnna Haskell needs the support of the community and beyond to raise $5,000 before Dec. 31, the deadline for making what could be a once-in-a lifetime paragliding fly-off Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro come true.
In February, she will be joining 200 paraglider pilots, some the best in the world, in the Wings of Kilimanjaro. She will be one of 12 pilots from the United States and one of three female solo pilots. She is the only Mainer in the event and the only woman from the Northeast. There are very few female pilots in the world, not over 10. It’s definitely a male dominated sport, she said.
She’s spent a lot of time and money training for the Wings of Kilimanjaro. You can’t train in Maine, she said. Paragliding is not allowed on any Maine mountain. It is allowable on Mt. Washington, but there are few days when it’s doable. That flight training in Mexico has made the fundraising imperative. Once she meets the $5,000 deadline, she still needs to come up with another $5,000.

Johnna Haskell will be joining 200 paraglider pilots in February’s Wings of Kilimanjaro. Here she’s pictured in the air. (Photo courtesy Johnna Haskell) Johnna Haskell will be joining 200 paraglider pilots in February’s Wings of Kilimanjaro. Here she’s pictured in the air. (Photo courtesy Johnna Haskell) To help make this happen, Seth Wescott has volun- teered The Rack for her fundraising event this coming Saturday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The 50/50 raffle and auction featuring classic snowboard equipment, helmets, ski tuning and more will follow the showing of The Never Ending Thermal movie. Tickets are available through Haskell and at The Rack.
Making this event even more exciting is the fact that the Tasmanian government is opening up the mountain for this one-time event, Winds of Kilimanjaro, to raise money for charity. Funds will go to three specific organizations that address health, environmental and education issues.
Pilots climb to the top and fly off. It’s pretty much top to bottom, she said. She expects the flight to take about 55 to 60 minutes.
According to Haskell’s blog at, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent. It’s the fourth highest of the Seven Summits, and it is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, rising 15,100 feet from base to summit. It is one of few places on earth encompassing every ecological life zone, from jungle, savannah and desert to mountain forest, subalpine plants and the alpine zone. About 70 percent of the 25,000 people attempting the climb every year make it. This will be the third of the seven that Haskell has conquered, including Denali’s Mt. McKinley.
She will start the climb Jan. 29, sleep on the summit at 19,000 feet the night of Feb. 4 and fly off Feb. 5. She’s climbed higher peaks at 19,600. “It depends on how your body adjusts,” she said. She plans to take it slow and easy. It’s not a technical climb. There aren’t any ropes. She’s hoping to get her glider and sleeping bag in the one free portered pack. “Normally, I’d be hiking with a day pack,” she said. She’s skimping where she can. At $1,000 for a canister of oxygen, which is recommended, she’s axing that as well. “I’ve cut everything I can cut out,” she said.
The proposed route is allowing six days to ascend the mountain. Because she’s spent so much time training in the air, she isn’t in as good as shape as she’d like, but she’s comfortable with the climb.
Haskell is an adventurer, mountaineer, skier, photographer and now a paraglider pilot. While some might consider this an extreme sport, Haskell said, “It’s just what I do.” She started paragliding in 2009 when visiting a friend in Slovakia. She was hooked following that first flight when she found herself flying like a bird.
To prepare for Kilimanjaro, she needs to fly in places with different thermal conditions. That’s why she’s spent time in Spain and Mexico. She’ll be returning to Mexico in December.
When you paraglide off high peaks, you need guides. “You can’t just whip over to the Alps and fly,” she said. Every mountain has unique weather patterns and characteristics, and you have to understand their microclimate.
Her longest flight is three and a half hours. Some pilots have been in the air for up to six hours. “Someone will be setting a record if the weather is good,” she said.
“You could be above the clouds. You might have to go down through the clouds, and deal with different winds at varying elevations. Flying down could be like navigating in fog while sea kayaking or sailing, making a compass mandatory.”
“Piloting takes a lot of work and a lot of skill,” she said.
“Trying to run off in thin air is really hard to prepare for,” she said. “You run and the glider flies.”
Haskell plans to work at one of the charities for the few extra days in Africa. Because she’s so heavily invested in training for the fly off, she’s forgoing sightseeing or a safari. “I’ll have to go back to Africa to see the big cats, gorillas and elephants, she said.


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Maine Woman to Soar off Kilimanjaro

Carrabasset Valley, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Johnna Haskell is a photographer, skier and mountaineer. She is preparing to paraglide off Kilimanjaro in a fund raiser for the Tanzanian people. Two hundred paragliders will contribute five hundred dollars apiece for the licenses to soar. The million dollars raised will go to three charities helping Tanzania, the nation where Kilimanjaro is located. "It's something I've had on my bucket list," said the personable photographer who looks for adventures around the world "We're going to summit one day and then we're going to sleep near the summit for three days waiting to get off." Paragliding is relatively new thrill sport that is small, but growing in terms of popularity. It is unique among gliding sports in that the equipment is easily stowed in backpack and transportable. The chute or wing has no rigid support. It takes its shape from the length of the cords below it. The pilot hangs beneath sitting in a seat. The seat, which also forms the backpack, is filled with air for safety and comfort. Kilmanjaro is 19,340 high. The three charities work with human health, education and environmental issues.


Message from WorldServe

Please donate today to help me help others in need of fresh water and to protect vital wildlife habitat as well as education against poachers in this precious area.


Spin & Spiral Maneuvers


I made a little video of just one of my maneuvers flights over Canyon Ferry in Bozeman Montana. Thank you to Andy Macrae from Bozeman Paragliding for keeping me in one piece and to Jesse Gulledge for filming my flight. 

Thermal Flying in Italy 

Learning to fly in thermals in Bassano Italy was fantastic with Austrian Arean.  Eighteen hours of practice on the Rush 3 and some exciting thermals, low saves and sweet landings at the hotel. We did have some 100 degree weather which made more or an incentive to stay in the air where it was cool!

Flying in Austria

My first flight on the Ozone Rush 3 was over this magnificent view of Mayrhofen, Austria. Thank you to Austrian Arena. This is an amazing place to ski and paraglide so I will have to go back when the thermals are working.


Wings of Kilimanjaro: ‘The experience of a lifetime’

Vision ... Kilimanjaro ahead. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
Vision ... Kilimanjaro ahead. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
Sometime last year an Australian pilot had a crazy idea: a mass hike-and-fly of Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro. Adrian McRae wanted to get 200 pilots to fly from the summit at the same time, and raise a million dollars for charity along the way.
This isn’t easy for several reasons: Kilimanjaro is 5,895m high (19,341 feet), the air is thin, altitude sickness is a real possibility, and launching from such a height can be tricky. Not only that, paragliding, mountain-biking – anything other than hiking really – has been traditionally banned on the mountain for the longest time.

But craziness is what makes this sport great, and it’s also infectious. After a false start earlier this year the organisers got serious, spent forever negotiating permits, carried out a recce climb, and now plan to make their historic hike-and-fly in early February 2013.
Around 70 pilots have signed up and paid their $500 deposit to charity so far (pilots must commit to raise $5,000US for charity, plus pay $3,500 ground fees for the peak permit, the week long trek to the summit, and as a helicopter bond) and it’s all happening.
We asked Adrian and his safety officer Peter Bowyer, chief flight instructor of the Australian Paragliding Centre, what it was all about.
On approach ... the walk up. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
On approach ... the walk up. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
Adrian, what inspired you to create Wings of Kilimanjaro?
I learned to fly in 2008, five years after climbing Kilimanjaro for the first time. I always knew I wanted to go back to Tanzania and try and fly it. The idea to raise serious money for local initiatives came about at the same time – and here we are, planning to fly 200 pilots from the summit in February 2013!
What are you hoping to achieve?
Firstly the obvious – a hike-and-fly from the world’s tallest free-standing mountain for a large group of people. These pilots (and passengers) will all have had to train hard, work hard and also sacrifice plenty to be there financially after raising considerable money for charity for the privilege of taking part.
Secondly, (and more importantly) we expect to do some pretty awesome things on the ground in Tanzania from a philanthropy point of view. Environmentally, we expect to fund literally hundreds of micro-finance savings-and-loans groups and in the process plant in excess of two million trees around the foothills of Kilimanjaro.
We also expect to be able to bring clean water and educational facilities to literally tens of thousands of people in extremely impoverished areas of Tanzania.
We are supporting two key charities to make this happen: Plant With Purpose based out of the USA and The One Foundation, based out of the UK. Who would have thought a single paragliding event could have such a massive humanitarian impact? I’m just so excited to be a part of this.
Dawn start ... The hike to the summit on the final day. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
Dawn start ... The hike to the summit on the final day. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
So who’s along for the ride?
Confirmed pilots include the likes of Mike Kung, Squash Falconer, Sano Babu Sunuwar and Kari Castle. We’ve also got interesting personalities like the UK’s Senior Commissioner of Police Adrian Leppard. We’ve also had some interest from many great adventurers around the world who have yet to commit – Will Gadd and Chris Santacroce for example.
However, much more importantly, we will be auctioning tandem seats and we hope to raise some big money for charity. So, any tandem pilots who want to do something cool like climb and fly Kilimanjaro and allow us to sell their tandem seats (100% for charity of course) are more than welcome and we’d love to have them along.
What kind of training are the pilots getting in before the challenge?
Most pilots, being outdoors types, are well aware of the training required to climb a mountain such as Kilimanjaro. A good level of fitness and a definite high pain threshold and determination factor will be required. People are outlaying so much energy into this event, I doubt anyone will not make the top.
Although that being said, some people just do not go well with altitude and others don’t like to push themselves. I’ll be really sad if we don’t get at least 95% of people to the top. Of course there is also the flying training required and minimum flying experience required before we can consider any pilot. Great ground handling skills and flying in crowds must be second nature, as the brain works in low gear in half the oxygen as sea level on a mountain like Kilimanjaro.
View from the top. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
View from the top. Photo: Wings of Kilimanjaro
Pete, you’re in charge of safety while on the mountain. Tell us about that.
We’ll be climbing the mountain over an extended seven day period in order to lessen the risks of altitude sickness. During the climb phase we’ll have a rescue helicopter on standby every day – this isn’t normally done for trekking groups – and during the flying phase of the trip we plan to have two helicopters on standby. Those helicopters won’t be able to fly to the summit, but if anyone needs it pilots will be evacuated lower down the mountain by Kilimanjaro guides using wheeled stretchers. This is what normally happens on the mountain for trekking groups.
On the summit when pilots are launching we’ll have four safety crew up there, all on oxygen pulse meters, to help pilots lay out. We’re also monitoring our applications – we’ve turned away those who have just started flying or recently qualified and are only accepting applications from pilots with a degree of experience.
And Adrian, sum up for us. What kind of experience does the challenge offer pilots?
Hard one to answer, but I guess in a few words, the experience of a lifetime. For most people, climbing Kilimanjaro and reaching the summit is in itself a life achievement and highlight. To be able to fly off it will have different meaning and importance to all involved. For everyone it will be a life changing experience to see how our sport and our actions can make a massive positive impact and change many people’s lives in Africa for the better.
More at Official Blog: "Wings of Kilimanjaro" - charity paragliding event...: For over 20 years the authorities in Tanzania have strictly enforced the ban on the use of paragliders, hanggliders and mountain bikes in t... Kili20twelve event will now be in 2013--Cross Country Magazine

The necessary permits have been secured for the Kili20twelve event, where it is hoped that 120 pilots will fly en masse from the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro.
However, after extensive research into every aspect of the project, organisers have decided to move it to February / March 2013.
The weather at this time of year should be more favourable than the initially-planned autumn dates, and it gives participants a year to raise the charity and entry money for the event.
Read the press release here.

My first gopro video of Valle de Bravo, Mexico. I had over ten hours of video and have managed to get it into11minutes to show a little of the hundreds of turns in thermals and my xc adventures over launch, to El Penon, The Wall, Sacamacante, The Pinetas, The Lake landing in Valle, and beyond Javon.

A great video my friend Jesse Gulledge made of us flying near the cliffs of El Penon, above the lake landing and Le Torre and our many cross country flights in Valle de Bravo, Mexico. It was a spectacular 8.9 mile flight to the center of town with Jesse leading Caroline and Dustin (Miles Davis) and myself to the lake landing for our 3rd time.

Check out the video my friend Chris Camtopher made of us flying 20km on the beach in one direction at Mataslascanas, Spain!