Mike’s 2014 Recap

Thank you for supporting Child Legacy International and our annual fundraising event, the Mt. Kilimanjaro Clean Water Climb!

Below you will enjoy reading Mike Navolio’s account of the 2014 Clean Water Climb, and see some of the spectacular photos that he and other team members took while abroad.

Simply click on any of the photos below to view them in their full-size, high-definition glory!

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Malawi, 2012 – Mukupatila II Village

Dear Friends,

Mukupatila II Village was the 2nd of two villages in the same day that Jordan Beakley and I visited after climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Read more

Malawi, 2012 – Chiputu II Village

Dear Friends,

After going to Tanzania and summiting Kilimanjaro last summer, I returned a second time to Malawi, this time with Jordan Beakley. Read more

Malawi, 2012 – Cham’ndala Village

Dear Friends,

The second village our team visited to restore clean, safe drinking water and to share Living Water in 2012 was a very large village, called Cham’ndala Village, whose broken well normally served 1068 adults + 3697 children or about 4765 people! It may have been a complex of villages.

Most of our team went from village (or school) to village in a small bus that Child Legacy hired for us. A few of our team members traveled in the well repair truck with the Malawian well repair team. Just to give you an idea of the hurdles it takes to work in a very poor and rural society along with a very low budget, when our bus arrived at this very large village complex we noticed that somehow in our travel to this village we “lost” the repair truck and a small part of our team! We received a phone call and were informed that they had broke down somewhere in route from Katambala Village to Cham’ndala Village. The challenges of a low budget ministry in rural Africa suddenly became crystal clear! Child Legacy definitely needs a good used truck to help minimize these events.

The following photos of Cham’ndala Village were taken on my camera except where noted. I hope you enjoy them! Feel free to forward to anyone you like.



We stopped at this well because we knew the broken one was nearby and we had just received word that the well repair parts truck had broken down.

This well had some issues, but was working well enough to go to the one that was in bad shape. I like this photo because it is a good snapshot of typical village life. In addition to the women gathering water at the well, the rather unusual topography, some of the villagers homes, it also shows our bus that sticks out like a sore thumb. Note that there are no other means of transportation around other than a couple of bicycles and bare feet. The mountain peak is just barely visible from Child Legacy’s Project site about 12-15 miles away.



At first we thought there was no reason to go to the broken well without parts, so we decided to hang out at this location until we knew what was going to happen next. We spent about an hour waiting to see if the truck was fixable and whether it would catch up with us or not.

We started taking photos while waiting for some positive news from the rest of the team. Here is a very nice shot taken by Megan Halquist of a couple of young ladies goofing around. The kids love to pose!!



This great photo of this very lovely family was taken by Mitch Halquist.

I don’t normally see a family unit like this. One usually doesn’t see the men and the women mix too much. I am not sure why. I saw that especially in Sudan when I went there in 2009. This gives me great hope for the people of Malawi.



We received word that the truck was working again so we headed to our final destination and start off by sharing some bible stories.

Pastor Lester translates from English into Chichewa for my son-in-law, Alex Blanca.



At the end of the story time there is always an invitation to pray to ask God for forgiveness by trusting His Son as their Lord and Savior. The response is usually overwhelming.

Great photo by Alex Blanca!



It is always very amazing and humbling to see and hear the people praying like these beautiful children.

Great shot Mitch Halquist!



Shortly before we finished our Bible stories the repair truck and the rest of the team arrived and they went at it!

Here they are tearing out the old guts of the well.

Photo by the Malawian Repair Team.



Here the team finishes cinching up the well head before the well is “back on line” so to speak!

Another great shot by the Malawian well repair team who taught us what to do and accompanied us the entire day.



Ta da! It is finished!

This well was tight quarters to get a good group photo, since it was surrounded by a brick wall, with a small doorway to go through.



When we go to Malawi the plan is to bring the love of Christ through the vehicle of restored clean, safe, drinking water and His Word. We also just love on them, but something different happened here. The people in Cham’ndala Village turned it around and “loved” on us!

Great shot Mitch Halquist of your bride!


Here a couple of the villagers are loving on my grandson Ethan!

It was a happy and joyous day for sure.

Thanks for taking this picture Mitch Halquist!




There is always hope, little one.

Great picture Mitch Halquist!!



Goodbye to Cham’ndala Village.

There is not much else I can say about this photo. It speaks volumes. “Love one another” certainly comes to mind.

Great shot Jennifer Navolio!



But before we left we gave the chief a few things for his people to play with like soccer balls, volley balls, and Frisbees.

The chief shown here asked me to pray for his village and I was honored to do so.



This is the crew that drives all over Malawi using the funds received, from the many donors to the Clean Water Climb, to restore clean, safe drinking water to literally now, several million people.

It’s quite incredible really. Four guys trained, equipped, funded and off they go having now repaired over 1600 wells. 2013 could be the year they break 2000 wells!!

To the left is Pastor David who teaches hygiene and the Bible at every village and school.




Mitch Halquist caught this exquisite sunset shot from Child Legacy’s project site.

A full day of well repairs done.

I hope you enjoyed these very few pictures of Chim’ndala Village out of about 1000 taken by the team.


Feel free to share!

Malawi, 2012 – Katambala Village

Dear Friends,

The first village our team visited for a well repair and to share the gospel in 2012 was the smallest village I had ever visited – roughly 100 people. I suspect it was relatively new. They had dug a hole in the ground, and there was a bucket they lowered down to retrieve water. Since that time they had dug another hole in the ground – maybe 30’ deep – by hand! It is very hard for me to imagine how anyone can dig a small diameter 30 foot vertical hole in the ground by hand.

This was also the shallowest water table I had ever witnessed. The village had requested Child Legacy to set casing and install the Afridev pump “guts” into it so they could have a safe drinking water source. So, by the time our team arrived CLI had run and cemented the casing into place. All we had to do was install the riser pipe, pump rods, and surface hand pumping head. So, unlike a typical well repair, this was a brand new well for the village.

It was a fascinating little village. All these villages are unique. There is always something different and new to learn about the people of Malawi and their culture. The following photos of Katambala Village were taken by myself except where noted.


Pastor Lester Nikoma, with Child Legacy, inspects the hand dug water source.

Note the pieces of wood used to cover the water source and the rope attached to the bucket that ends up on the ground. I would not want to drink water from this well!

With farm animals wandering around, this alternative water source is clearly contaminated.



This was something new for me. In all the villages I have ever been to, I had never seen turkeys before.

There was a pair of them at this village – a Tom and a Hen.

Not growing up on a farm, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them.

I was quite surprised how defensive the Tom was as I got close to them. He was obviously guarding his Hen as he put on quite a physical display with his feathers and vocal chords!

He was quite frightening actually. He was very agitated and stood his ground very effectively.



Another unique aspect of this village was this stilted structure that contained several doves.

Not sure what the purpose of the doves were – eggs (awfully small) or meat (only 4 or 5 doves).

Pastor Lester and team member David Schultz check out the birds in side.



Malawian well repair crew member “Sho” shows (from left to right) Josh Agnew, David Schultz, and Joe Holmes how to install their 1st Afridev water well pump system in Malawi, Africa!



Meanwhile, while the well is being completed, my daughter Rebekah Blanca shares a bible story with the villagers, with Pastor Lester translating.

At the end of the story time the villagers are always given the opportunity to follow Jesus.

Photo by Alex Blanca.



Once the well is completed the villagers give it a try.

Katambala Village was 210th well to be completed in 2012 by Child Legacy. CLI documents every well that is repaired, refurbished, or completed. This well was finished on the 25th of June, 2012.

We had the great privilege of bringing safe, clean drinking water and the message of the gospel to this village for the first time in its history.


Great photo of the kids by Mitch Halquist, experiencing safe, clean, “running” water for the first time in their lives!

A new well usually costs $5000 to drill, cement, install, but since the water table was unusually shallow and the villagers were able to dig the hole themselves, an expensive drilling rig was not necessary, so the cost was far less than normal for a new well.



We always like to leave a little treat for all the village kids before we leave.

Pastor Lester and Pastor David supervise the village children while they receive chewable vitamin C and gumballs from my wife Jennifer, my grandson Elias, and my friend Steve Eckhart’s son Barrett.



Before we leave we always try to get our team with some of the villagers together for a photo opportunity.

Can you find our 14 adults and 6 kids?

And then, unfortunately, it is time to say good bye.

It is tough to leave after such a short amount of time.



It is tough to leave after such a short amount of time. But it is always good to see the villagers with smiles on their faces.

The people of Malawi always love visitors, even when we can’t always do a well repair.

Another great shot by Mitch!


Child Legacy’s 2nd Annual Mt. Kilimanjaro Clean Water Climb – 7th and Final Day

July 8, 2012 was our final day on the mountain. We hiked from Horombo Huts (12,200′) to Mandara Huts (9000′) then on to the park entrance at Marangu Gate (5905′). When we got to Mandara Huts for lunch, guide Bruce asked me if I would like a car to take me the rest of the way. I said no, I was fine now, and would be ok. But then, I got the idea that maybe Rebekah and I could play a nice prank on the other 5 who were about an hour or so ahead of us on the trail. They were always pranking me, so I needed to get back at them in a big way. During our trip they even had been coaxing Bruce and my own daughter Rebekah joining them in their schemes.  Early in the trip, on the way to the drive to our start of the hike, they convinced Rebekah to tell me that she had forgotten her sleeping bag at the hotel – about 2 hours into our drive to the start of the climb. They then had Bruce tell me we “only had” another 3 hours of driving after we had driven 3 hours of our expected 4 hour drive to the start of the climb! I decided to take Bruce up on the car transport idea. We walked for about 45 minutes and then met up with a car that took us out the rest of the way on the porter road that was different than the hiker’s route, so they wouldn’t see us drive by them. The startled, albeit brief, look on their faces when they arrived at Marangu to see us waiting for them was well worth it!

After a short celebratory ceremony that included our summit certificates being handed out by Bruce we crashed in bed. Jordan and I had to get up at 3am to make our flight to Nairobi, then on to Malawi. It would be Jordan’s first visit to Malawi and my 2nd of the trip and 5th overall. Despite my upper respiratory problems I couldn’t wait to go back to Malawi to join the crew and repair a few more wells. The view from our 6am flight of Kilimanjaro was killer!! Having round tripped to Kilimanjaro AP four times and round tripped four times from Nairobi to Lilongwe, where there is also a good chance to see Kilimanjaro, and despite the badly scratched up windows on the plane, I had never seen it like this before. It was both enormous beautiful. However, once again we proved it to be conquerable for clean water once again. Enjoy the photos.

2102 Clean Water Climb – Day #6: Final Ascent!!

July 7, 2012 was going to be the longest day, starting around midnight. The plan was that I would lead out earlier with a couple of others on the team who wanted to go a little slower than the others (for me it was absolutely necessary to get a head start), even starting a little before midnight. The other four team members would wait about 45 minutes or so before taking off. Well, my first group was so slow in getting ready to start (all my fault) that we barely started ahead of the other group. As I proceeded up the mountain, it became the biggest physical/mental/spiritual battle of my life – far, far more difficult than last year’s “it’s the hardest thing I had ever done” assault on Kilimanjaro’s summit. I had to constantly stop to catch my breath. The world (Kilimanjaro) was telling me that it was unconquerable for me this year. My flesh was weak. It was everything I could do to put one foot in front of the other – I constantly wanted to stop for air and it was everything I could do to begin again after catching my breath. Then the devil began throwing his searing darts at me: “Mike, why are you doing this? You are too old. You are not going to make it. You’re not really helping anyone. You should do other things with your time. You are crazy. What is wrong with you. You would be so much more comfortable staying home. Turn around and go back.” On and on the assaults came from the world, the flesh, and the devil. But I not only had a great defense I had even a more powerful offense than all that was being thrown at me. I had the power of God’s Word within me. I kept reminding myself and reciting to myself what the Apostle Paul said to the Philippian church: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I also kept remembering all those donors who contributed their hard earned money for clean water for Malawi. I was not going to disappoint the Lord, I was not going to disappoint my donors, and I was not going to disappoint the thousands of Malawian villagers who need clean water – water that I take for granted. Other scriptures came to mind: “He who is in me, is greater than he who is in the world”, “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” That was it. I declared: “Kilimanjaro, give me your best shot, but you will not win – I have Christ. Flesh, you may be weak – but I am stronger than you with Christ. Devil, you can say what you want – but I have Christ, my redeemer, my joy, my hope.” This battle to the summit (19,341′) went on for 9 hours, as that was how long it took me to make it to the top – an hour longer than last year. Towards the end it was take a step – count to 3 – take another step – count to 3. By doing this I could fend off the breathlessness, though I felt like a snail. In the end, Christ proved to me once again He is more powerful than the world, more powerful than my flesh, and more powerful than the devil. I was the last to summit, but so thankful to the Lord for His help along the way. I was reminded of the sufficiency of the grace of Christ. Paul spoke so eloquently of this to the Corinthian church: “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, harships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” ( 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10).

I made it to the top but I wasn’t through yet. I still had to go back down over 3900′ to Kibo Huts, rest a bit, pack my stuff up, then go down another 3200′ to Horombo Huts where we would sleep for the night. One would think that going downhill would be simple and easy. Just put one foot in front of the other and let gravity do what it is supposed to. Well that wasn’t the case – at least not for me. I experienced the same heavy panting and breathlessness that I did going up, but at least not as frequently. However, it was a very long way down to Kibo. Our wonderful lead guide, Bruce, not only took my backpack, but at one point on the way down grabbed one of my arms and supported me going down. Then he sent for reinforcements – up came the cook and several porters – they grabbed both arms and supported me on the way down, but even with all that help the breathlessness would return and I would have to stop. Finally I made it back to Kibo Huts, where I was utterly exhausted – I didn’t want to do anything. But I knew I had to eat and I knew I had to pack up. I asked Bruce if I could be stretchered to the Horombo Huts, but all the stretchers had been used by others before me with more serious problems, so I was on my own to hike out. It ended up not being so bad after all. Lunch and the lower elevation rejuvenated me and I was able to hike out under my own power after all. It was the longest day – it started at midnight and did not end until around 7pm. An ascent of 3941′ and a descent of 7141′ all in less than 24 hours.


2012 Clean Water Climb – Day #5

July 6, 2012 was our hike to Kibo Huts (final base camp) where we would eat and rest up before heading out around midnight for Gilman’s Point and then the summit. The hike to Kibo Huts (4700 meters or 15,420′) began with the mighty slopes of Kibo swallowing up the fast setting full moon. During our morning hike we had good views of Mawenzi Peak which is the 3rd highest peak in Africa. As the day wore on and we gained in elevation we found our eyes becoming closer to level with it’s top.

Today’s hike was a far more difficult day for me than the acclimatization hike the day before. I was back to heavy panting again, having to stop frequently for air during the day. This was not a good sign for the ascent to Gilman’s Point and the final push to Uhuru Peak, the ultimate top of the volcano. I could only imagine what midnight and beyond would reveal to me. I began to wonder if I was going to make it or not. I was determined to give it my best shot, but without risking my safety or the safety of others. As long as I could catch my breath, I knew I would make it, but it would be at a slower pace than last year. Guide Bruce offered to take my pack which I gladly gave to him. Look for him in one of the photos below. I easily made it to Kibo Huts last year with my pack. Something continued to be amiss with my blood oxygen level.

Clean Water Climb – Day #4

July 5, 2012 was an acclimatization hike form Cave #3 campsite to School Hut where we hiked from 12,946′ to 15,528′. This was a great acclimatization hike. We would actually get a bit higher than Kibo Huts where we would start our final ascent in a couple of days. I actually felt a lot better today. I had more energy than the day before, I had no headache, and my sinus congestion was lightening up. My right ankle was not bothering me much at all. My heavy panting was not nearly so much as the day before, though I did experience some of it. I was very thankful that the worst of my respiratory problems seemed to be behind me and it couldn’t have come at a better time – before the final ascent. However, that evening, our guide, Bruce, was wondering why I was experiencing the shortness of breath so much more than the rest of the team. He pulled out an oxymeter to check our blood oxygen levels. Mine was significantly lower than anyone else’s. Mine read 78% blood oxygen level. The rest of team had around 88% blood oxygen level – 10% higher. This was disconcerting to say the least.