school flag 3 Michael and his brother John hold a Nianjema School flag at the Mount Everest Base Camp

Usually when people talk about Mount Everest, it's in reference to a dream that they had, or a movie they just watched. This is not the case for Michael Carney, owner of Mr. Handyman of Southwest Atlanta Suburbs. Michael and several of his family members recently climbed to the Mt. Everest Base Camp. They dedicated their trek to the Nianjema School in Tanzania, managed by Charlie Sloan (Michael's cousin).

The Carney family spent several months preparing for their Mount Everest endeavor. To train, they hiked the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and Red Rock in Nevada. However, these treks did not compare to the physical demands of Mount Everest. "Not only were there narrow trails with steep drop-offs, but you were hiking in a high altitude causing your body to constantly try and adjust to the conditions," he said. Carney's journey was filled with adventure. On the fourth day, their lead Sherpa took them to his home village of Thame, where they got to see an intimate view of the Sherpa culture. After enjoying afternoon tea, the crew climbed a 400-year-old monastery to further explore local Buddhism. The crew then met the head priest, and each received an individual blessing, as a symbol for "good wishes and good luck" before ascending to base camp. The construction orchestrated in the mountainous towns was especially fascinating. Carney noted the many differences he sees as a Mr. Handyman owner in Atlanta where resources are plentiful and materials are relatively affordable. "All construction materials had to be carried to the jobsite by porters or yaks from a landing strip where a helicopter dropped off supplies. This makes the materials very expensive," he said. "Electrical power is unreliable so hand tools are mostly used. Plumbing is also limited so houses are very simple." Carney went on to say that the climb brought many challenges, and with it, many rewards. "My biggest victory was getting to the base camp," said Carney. "I learned that by pacing myself and just worrying about each step, I was able to continue and make it up the mountain." The trip was a personal success and created more awareness about education in Tanzania. Sloan started the Nianjema school 10 years ago. His mission is to help educate children in Tanzania, which is an important contribution to the country's future. "I can donate money to the Nianjema School, but I also want to help promote his cause. I feel that there are a lot of people that, if they knew more about the school, would consider making a contribution," said Carney.

Click here if you're interested in learning more about the Nianjema School, and see how you can donate to the fund.

Click here to learn more about Michael's exciting journey on his blog.