Update post Kili! I’m sure you’ll all be very happy to hear that the five of us survived Kili! On Saturday morning we were picked up by Gerry (our guide and a friend of Mamma Jo’s) with the rest of the porters- 16 in total! With a two hour car journey to reach our starting point, it’s definitely fair to say that was a nervous journey! With Gerry’s expertise on the mountain we decided on taking the Umbwe route up and the Mweka route down-both of which being the most difficult routes to climb. The first day got off to a great start. Although we covered the most distance on this day, it was fairly flat throughout so it was a good way to ease into our more strenuous days ahead. After our first night camping we set off early next morning. The second day was in total about three and a half hours walking. The pace remained slow and steady as we were getting higher up the mountain. Luckily the five of us weren’t experiencing any altitude sickness after the second day. One of the most interesting aspects of the six days was experiencing the five different climates to Kilimanjaro. The second day being my favourite-walking from alpine forest through to moorland and finishing off in alpine desert, all in one day! We arrived at Umbwe camp, which was my favourite campsite with it’s picturesque location of Kilimanjaro behind us and a seemingly endless lookout above the clouds. Apart from adjusting to the high altitude (and the squat toilets!), a lot of cards were played until we left early the next morning!
The third day was similar in schedule but different in terrain. For three hours we made our way up ‘the wall’- a sheer rock face that we had to take very ‘pole pole’, the most widely spread and used phrase from our trip, the Swahili meaning take it very gently/slowly. The group really enjoyed the challenging terrain and four hours later we arrived at base camp! We were very excited to have arrived at base camp but at the same time we knew what it inevitably meant! After resting at camp and squeezing in a couple of hours sleep, the five of us accompanied by Gerry and his two assistant guides set off at midnight for the final ascent. The group unanimously agreed the next seven and a half hours were the hardest of the trip. A combination of darkness, altitude sickness and the nature of the incline proved difficult. Nevertheless, at 07.30 am on Wednesday 23rd July we made it to Africa’s highest peak! The five of us were thrilled to have completed this bucket list challenge! It was an unforgettable six days! Arriving back at home in Arusha on the Thursday to hot showers and a mattress was very much needed! After a good night’s sleep we set off for our ten hour bus journey to Dar es Salam to join the others! As you’ve heard from Odette the others have been very busy at placement so for all of us it was an essential weekend of relaxation at Dar’s beach hotels! Monday was the first day for the Kili Group at placement. We completed the work on the foundation of the new classroom and are still ahead of schedule as of this week. Today was the first day of Eid which meant a day of exploring Dar as a town, taking in all that the local markets had to offer. Tomorrow we head back to work teaching the kids as well as participating in the school’s annual sports day! Apologies again for my later entry. We can’t believe how quickly our time is going and are loving Dar! Sending love back home, Kelly x