Why a Sunshine Coast man will climb Kilimanjaro in a onesie

ONESIE: Nathan Taiaroa prepares to climb Kilimanjaro
ONESIE: Nathan Taiaroa prepares to climb Kilimanjaro

THE humble onesie - that fashion fad that seems never to fade - will soon be on top of Africa's tallest mountain.

And it won't just be any onesie making the journey either.

It's going to be a giraffe onesie, a zebra onesie and possibly a leopard onesie.

Intrepid Sunshine Coast adventurer Nathan Taiaroa will be taking a fundraising group up Kilimanjaro dressed in their onesies to raise funds for disadvantaged students in Kenya and Tanzania.

Four years ago Nathan was an accountant working with Ernst and Young and having a very bright, although possible boring, career ahead of him.

Then his 12-year-old brother, Jake, died in a freak accident driving a ride-on-mower on the family's Kandanga farm.

Nathan quit his job, broke up with his long-term girlfriend and sold all his possessions to go an volunteer in Africa.

"When my little brother died, it gave me a kick up the arse. I had the option to continue in accounting or to do what I had always wanted to do.

"It was the best thing I ever did, although it was awful Jake died."

After volunteering at the School of St Jude's, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Nathan went to volunteer in one of the poorest slums in Africa, Kibera.

"A million people live there in two-and-a-half square kilometres," he said.

He also began doing trips up Kilimanjaro with other organisations, before decided to start his own adventure company with purpose, Adventure Out Loud.

This will be the company's first trip up Kilimanjaro and the four people going will all be doing it in a onesie.

With temperatures plummeting to below 15 degrees at night, a onesie isn't the only thing Nathan will be wearing.

"I will have proper gear underneath it as well," he said.

"I normally have two pairs of thermals, one to two layers of fleece and a ski jacket," he said.

"It is a very big onesie."

The funds raised from the trip will educate students who live in the Kibera slum.

"I believe education is the key to fighting poverty," Nathan said.

"I'm a huge supporter of the 'give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day but teach him to fish and he'll eat for life' principle and that is why I am doing everyday life and Kilimanjaro in a onesie."

While education accessibility has significantly increased in Kenya over the past five years, 37% of students still do not have access to a secondary education while 52% do not have access to a senior school education, year 11 & 12 equivalent.

Of the approximately 20,000 people who attempt Kilimanjaro each year, a third don't make it - predominantly due to altitude sickness, an illness that can strike randomly and indiscriminately; youth, fitness and previous experience whilst beneficial are no safeguard.

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Topics:  editors picks mount kilimanjaro

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