Though never much of a hiker, Avi Lazar will be traveling to Tanzania on Aug. 26 where he'll attempt to climb the more than 19,000-foot-tall Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Though the challenge may loom large — it will take seven days and up to 50 hours to complete — Lazar's making the trek for a good cause.
The company where he works, Accenture, is annually involved with a British service organization called VSO, which takes volunteer professionals, such as teachers and doctors, and sends them to Kenya to help local communities there.
A group of employees from Accenture, which provides global consulting services, embarks yearly on the journey to Africa to see the fruits of their donations, meeting the volunteers and learning more about how VSO helps the Kenyan people. The visit includes an attempt to scale Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania.
An IT specialist at Accenture, Lazar, 35, moved to Philadelphia from Israel when he was 4 years old. He later graduated from West Chester University with a bachelor's degree in communication studies.
To prepare for the grueling task ahead, Lazar has been working with a personal trainer since January to increase his strength and endurance. The Poconos may not look like northeastern Tanzania, but Lazar has been hiking there, as well as other local trails, to acclimate himself to the rigors of the climb.
Nothing in life is free, including a trip to Kenya and Tanzania, so Lazar will be financing his training and flight with his own money, while at the same time raising funds that will support VSO's work in African communities.