Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2010 (post 9 of 12)

This is the ninth of twelve posts on the December 2010 Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.
Friday 10 December 2010
We woke to sad news. As we were having breakfast Yahoo, as usual, came to ask how we were doing. Then, apparently content that we felt fine, told us his mother had died. He said he had to turn back towards Moshi.

Yahoo explained he had nominated two of the crew – Solomon and Ludovick – to lead us for the remainder of the climb.

It was tragic. I imagined how Yahoo would cope. He said his mother had not been ill and was in her fifties. I later learnt she is from Songea, in southern Tanzania.

Later, I worried how we would cope with his replacement, Solomon. But surprisingly, with Jaffar’s profound ability to engage anyone in endless conversation, the rapport with Solomon turned out to be excellent. On our trek to Barranco camp, we walked continuously under the rain, which I found extremely inconvenient. The bonus was, because it was cloudy and foggy, we did not see far ahead of our steep climb towards Lava Tower, the most testing section of today’s trek. I have learnt from experience that what you don’t see during a climb does not intimidate you.

At a certain point after a brief clearing of the fog, I saw the distinct silhouette of Lava Tower, only a short climb away from a stream where Jaffar had asked to take a break. After he said he felt dizzy I suggested he was not drinking enough water and could have been suffering from dehydration. It turned out I was right because in the next days he drank more water and did not experience any dizziness.

I notice a big difference between Jaffar on the ascent and one on a descent.* The former speaks little; the latter has endless stories to tell. Characteristically, I am left behind on descents; my forte, I have discovered, is during climbs.

*Climbing most mountains, particularly while heading towards the summit, involves both climbs and descents across valleys and ridges.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2010 (post 8 of 12)

This is the eighth of twelve posts on the December 2010 Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.
Thursday 9 December 2010
Jaffar is in good spirits which, without argument, is the best tool for conquering Kilimanjaro.

When I got out of my tent, I caught a glimpse of Kibo peak, our destination. Kibo has an unusually large quantity of snow cover. I estimated the snow cover, in some sections, was as low as 4,000m. If there is a bonus for climbing during the rainy season, the extra snow cover (also seen on Kilimanjaro’s other peak, Mawenzi, on December 6) has to be it.

As with the past climbs, our group remains the slowest; we maintain a slow but steady pace. The other important principle of climbing Kilimanjaro is taking matters as slowly as possible to conserve much-needed energy for the difficult sections, advice that is especially important for novice climbers.

There is little to write about today except that it is Tanzania’s 49th independence anniversary commemorations. On TBC radio, the public broadcaster, a primary school student was interviewed and asked what he remembered of Tanzania’s history.

Vita vya Kagera.” [The Kagera War – the 1978-79 war between Tanzania and Uganda]
 “Vilikuwa mwaka gani?” [When was the war fought?]
Sikumbuki…” [I don’t remember]
Vilikuwa mwaka ‘78 na ’79. Unakumbuka chanzo cha vita hivyo?[They were in ’78 and ’79. Do you remember the cause of the war?]
Idi Amin alikuwa mkolofi. Sasa Nyelele alikuwa hapendi ukolofi, ndiyo ikabidi wapigane.” [Idi Amin was a troublesome person. Nyerere did not like trouble, so they had to fight].

In my tent, after the hike from Shira 1 to Shira 2 camp where I tuned in to the radio broadcast on Tanzania's 49th commemorations of its independence.
Ever since Jaffar’s first visit to Tanzania, I have consistently avoided dwelling on the past and attempted to focus on the future, but history has a habit of cropping up unexpectedly, even on a Kilimanjaro climb with Jaffar Amin!

Also on the radio today was a rebroadcast of Lt. Alex Nyirenda’s live broadcast from Uhuru Peak on the eve of Independence, 49 years ago.

Next: Tragic news from Moshi.

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