In early January, [artist id="1163848"]Kenna[/artist] began his ascent up Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, in an effort to raise awareness about the global clean-water crisis, which affects more than 1 billion people on the planet and kills nearly 4 million every year. The journey was documented on "Summit on the Summit: Kilimanjaro," which premiered on MTV Sunday night.
It was a pretty massive undertaking — both the mountain and the mission — so it's a good thing he didn't go it alone. Joining Kenna on the trek was a team of of nearly 300 men and women, including fellow musicians Lupe Fiasco and Santigold, actors Jessica Biel and Emile Hirsch, plus scientists, United Nations representatives and experienced mountain guides. (Justin Timberlake had intended to accompany them but was unable due to scheduling conflicts; he filmed an introduction for the show.) Luckily, everyone made it to the peak. But now that he's climbed back down the mountain, Kenna and his team continue the fight for clean water, lobbying Congress for additional funds to battle water-borne diseases, and urging concerned citizens of the world to educate themselves to the growing crisis. In his own words, Kenna shares his memories and feelings about climbing Kilimanjaro, and about continuing the fight down here on the ground.
NOTHING IS GREATER OR LESS THAN US: TOGETHER
The Climb Had a Life of Its Own
There is a moment when you realize that it isn't you doing it anymore — that something bigger and more powerful than you has interceded and given wings to what you were hoping for and catapulted it into the stratosphere. I have been blessed in my life to have two living, passionate and together parents who have explained that there are no limits to the power of conscious moves to elevate oneself.
To find out that I had missed the plot on something as massive as was the problem my father had as a child with water-borne diseases, and to further find out that he had lost his brother to those diseases was insane to me. How could this be? Where was I? And how did I miss such an important thing?
After that disappointment settled for me, I began to do research on the global clean-water crisis. It is a crisis. A billion people live without clean water and a child dies every 15 seconds. It is the equivalent to a 747 jet full of children crashing into the ground every two hours of every day, 365 days a year. It is unacceptable.
The climb of Kilimanjaro was hard. It was arduous. It was nerve-racking because I worried for my friends. My friends and team went so well beyond themselves to be there for me, and found the issue touching them even more powerfully than when they signed on. All that to say, but Jessica Biel said it best on Larry King [when she said it was one of the best experiences of her life] ... All of that, but it is nothing in comparison to the girl who has to walk six kilometers a day with 80 pounds of water strapped on her back to get it to her family.
We are very lucky and should count our blessings. But better yet, we can give water to those in need by learning about the issue and donating as you see fit, to the organization of your choosing. If you are so inclined, I have partnered with the UN Foundation on a text-to-donate number: Just text "SEND" to 90999 and $10 will come out of your account. That will provide 1,000 liters of water to a family in need and a year's worth of water for a child.
Conserve, learn, and send water.
Find out what you can do to help solve the global water crisis now at the "Summit on the Summit" Web site.