Kilimanjaro – the world’s tallest freestanding mountain – rises nearly 20,000 feet above sea level in safari lands on the border between Tanzania and Kenya. The mountain has five distinct ecological zones at different altitudes, with jungle at the foothills and glaciers at the summit. Some 35,000 tourists attempt to reach the peak each year, encountering physical and psychological challenges along the way. Some 10-25 percent of them have to turn back, succumbing to altitude sickness, injury, exposure to the cold or other adverse conditions. On June 14, Mary Ann Perkins and her daughter, Danielle, reached the summit. In her address to the Ethical Society, Mary Ann will draw parallels between their experiences on the mountain and humanist perspectives on life.
Member Mary Ann Perkins grew up in St. Louis County and then lived overseas–in Germany, Lebanon and Thailand–for most of the next two decades. During that time she had two children, left the Mormon church and completed two master’s degrees. After returning to the St. Louis area, she became a member of the Ethical Society and restarted the religious transition peer-support group that meets at the Ethical Society every Monday at 7 p.m.