When I was a callow youth at my first newspaper back in the 1970s my boss had a sign on his desk (facing outwards for the edification of his staff) that read: "How can I soar with the eagles when I work with (you) turkeys?"
With the benefit of hindsight I would advise him to swap offices with well-seasoned Murrumbateman paragliding instructor Peter Bowyer. Soaring with the eagles is exactly what Peter does for a living.
He was one of a small international team that made history at the start of the month when they undertook what is believed to be the first sanctioned flight off the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The other fliers included Yass's Adrian McRae, Australian-German photographer Franziska Link and Canada's Robert Gardner.
The one hour and 15 minute flight took the team from Stella Point on the mountain's 5895 metre summit to Kibosho School about 10km away.
While Peter is adamant it was the flight of a lifetime and an unbelievable experience, he is quick to point out that the journey, which involved a seven day trek to the top of the mountain followed by a day-and-a-half waiting for appropriate flying weather, was much more than an exercise in self-gratification.
He and Adrian McRae are the driving forces behind a little known charity called Wings of Kilimanjaro (WOK for short) that has raised more than a million dollars to improve the lives of poor Tanzanians in recent years.
WOK has led three separate expeditions to Africa's tallest mountain. The first was a reconnaissance, the second and the largest ever trek up Kilimanjaro with 750 participants was filmed by 60 Minutes and the third was this month's flight.
The second expedition was the major fund raiser with paragliders from all around the world paying to take part.
The weather, unfortunately, did not co-operate and nobody was able to fly off.
"We did set a record (for the number of people who made it to the top in a single expedition) and nobody failed to reach the summit," he said. "A tropical cyclone screwed up our chances of flying that trip but spirits remained high and people had a very good vibe because of the money that was raised. All paragliders accept that the sport is weather-dependent."
The latest trip, which Peter describes as "recce 2", went off much more smoothly and sets the stage for a return to the summit by an estimated 30 pilots in 2015.
"That is also going to be a fundraiser and this time we are offering tandem flights (for non pilots)," he said.
"The cost has not been set but the price of a spot will probably start at about $20,000 to $25,000."
All of the individuals, including Peter, who have been involved in WOK to date have been personally touched by the experience.
He said Mr McRae, who came up with the idea, had walked Mt Kilimanjaro before and had formed close bonds with the Tanzanian people he had met.
Even before he qualified as a pilot he was determined to fly from the mountain.
"I looked into it and discovered that paragliding there was banned," Peter said. "That actually made Adrian more determined on the basis that if it hadn't been done before that was even better."
The Tanzanian Government supported the project once the fundraising aspects were sorted out and, to date, WOK has funded dozens of new wells, built a school and underwritten the cost of massive tree plantings.
"Thousands of trees have been planted for fruit and lumber," he said. "Our expeditions have changed lives."
He said that ready access to fresh water was a basic human need. It is a right in most countries, this not in much of Africa.
"It is a different century," he said. "You are stepping back in time. Often all I can think about is going back to do what I can to help.
"When you see very young children carrying 20 litre buckets of water long distances with the wire handles cutting into their hands you just can't look the other way. It is heartbreaking."
Peter said it was easy for westerners not to care (about living conditions in Africa) because it was on the other side of the world.
"I had never wanted to go to Africa," he said. "I have now been three times and I love the place; it is a beautiful land filled with beautiful people whose lives do matter just as much as ours. WOK is here for the long haul."
To find out more about the work of WOK visit http://wingsofkilimanjaro.com/