Jambo – Jambo Bwana, Habari Gani?? Nzuri Sana, wageni mnakaribiswa, Kilimanjaro hakuna matata…boom boom…
For those of you who have climbed kili these lines may send you back down a vortex to you time on the mountain and for those who are considering it in the future you now have a head start on non readers to ‘Bushupdates’ to the Kilimanjaro theme song that is trumpeted out by guides and porters alike as climbing teams arrive to the camps each night.
It is mandatory that you learn it and join in with the team spirit and and lighthearted behavior, depending on you emotional state of mind at the time it can be a touching moment and an inspiring one at the same time, the Tanzania’s are not worried about singing and dancing in the strangest of places Kili being one of them. It still catches my attention after 10 years of being here in TZ that music is so much apart of the daily lives.
Bus conductors, waitress and your everyday drunkard can not help but swing that body to a favorite song being played on a neighboring radio and those mamas trust me know how to shake it !! The below entries have come from ‘The Brad’ still present here in TZ and currently hiding out at the school of St Judes!!
I have not heard site or sound of him for almost 2 weeks so trust he has settled in to his sports teaching activities and is now getting to understand what his fellow Australian volunteering folk are going on about, the poor lad was having a little difficulty with a few of the strong Ozzy accents and i would imagine the other way round with “The Brad” strong northern tongue, by the way “The Brads” was mild compared to Stuarts which actually needs a degree in Morse code to understand.
Fresh out of London are other entries from the lovely Clare who has now been swallowed feet first by her job at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater where she rubs shoulders with those arty types who enjoy doing nothing more than drinking Cappuccinos down at Star bucks planning the future of the world!! Fortunately Clare is extremely grounded and committed to her job and would sooner talk footy with the boys and down a good English ale.
The below is a mix of Brad and Clare’s accounts on the mountain… Stuart to date has not put his thoughts down and no doubt is proudly showing off his mozzie bites to his mates down the pub along with mixing iodine to a pint as he believes it is the only medicine one needs to carry to Africa and if consumed rather that applied one can become invincible!! ( please do not try this at home – this is Stu’s belief only)
The usual formalities at the park gates of any route on Kilimanjaro always seem to take an eternity, one is geared to go and anxious to get ahead of the 25 strong group of climbers that are also waiting at the start line. Fortunately the Twin Peaks challenge team were only x 3 and after a short time they were off into the magical rain forest that was heavily shrouded in mist. The mood was light and everyone had a spring in their step, the team was well primed after the 3 x days on Meru so certainly had that advantage with them over other climbers who had only stepped off the plane the day before.
Brad after suffering slightly from altitude sickness on Meru had decided to ease his anxiety for kili and started the morning off with a dose of Diamox. If taking this daily it can assist in climbing at altitude as well as an emergency medicine if climbers are hit badly by Acute Mountain Sickness ( AMS) – the only down side of taking it as a preventative is that you need to head to those bushes far more regularly as it makes you ‘pee’ far more, meaning intern you need to drink more to keep yourself hydrated, catch 22 unfortunately, but for The Brad it was a physiological companion as he was determined that he was going to make it and nothing was going to stop him – GO – The Brad!!
As for Clare she started out from Maji moto with numb toes or perhaps it was ‘cold feet’ as to the challenge that lay ahead. Once again her male team members showed how close they had all become from the days spent on Meru and Stuart offered to amputate them as he had a knife and yes you guessed it Iodine to apply liberally after the job was done, Clare shrugged this off and thought to herself boys will be boys and let them have their fun. At one stage the Twin Peaks team started to doubt Paul Silwamba guiding skills and began to question that they were actually climbing Kili and not some random hill, the mist was heavy and one could not see out of the towering canopy above. Clare had hooked up with some fellow trekkers for some mental stimulation and left the boys to hackle Paul and enjoyed the latest news from the football world!!!
All arrived to camp in good time to the song of Deo and the porter team in fine voice with JAMBO – JAMBO BWANA, HABARI GANI, NZURI SANA…and so on The Brad later confessed that he finally mastered these words by day 7 and it was evident as even after his return to Arusha he could not stop singing it. The early wake up calls, bed coffee and tea were not a favorite of ‘The Brad’ and he began to get into the habit of rolling over to snatch an extra 10 mins – caffeine was not for him but sleep YES that will do nicely!!
The Brad also on Meru had shown signs of being a painfully slow packer; there is always the stigma of women being bad, but Brad well!! this time round he took the biscuit with Clare and Stuart always at the breakfast table before him. Now being as Clare was sharing a tent with him this habit was becoming a slightly frustrating daily factor. Brad has denied everything including snoring which was the sole reason that he escaped from Stu’s thunderous nocturnal habits, but now Clare faced sleepless nights as The Brad lapped up his zzzz’s.
The tables were about to changed and unfortunately ‘The Brad’ had somewhere along the way picked up a dose of Bali belly and he begun not only to have to pee more frequently but began to practice squatting in the bushes regularly during the 5days that followed. He had commented though that it did have an advantage after being robbed of sleep, that whilst braving the freezing breezes that circulated his lower regions, the stars studded sky was something that he had never ever seen to the extremity that altitude climbing can offer- sky’s are generally crystal clear in the night as the warm lower land pulls any cloud cover down off the slopes as the temperatures drop.
Being that ‘The Brad’ comes from Middlesbrough in the Northern reaches of the UK famous in a ‘ round about way‘ for its steel works, the folk are known as the ‘Smoggies’ due to the year round layer of Smog that hangs over that part of Britain, this was fresh news to me and one i do not need to experience. So for The Brad this was a real treat although he would have rather experienced it under different circumstance.
Lava tower was next on the menu offering amazing views.
With many streams to cross after scrambling down from the heights of Lava Tower, Clare once again proud of herself from not falling in as she knew if this was to happen her supporting team member’s would never let it rest, although her blunder for the day was she forgot to put sun cream on the backs of her hands and even after the 4 days safari after returning from Kili she was proudly showing off her impressive tan stripes !!. The descent was slow over broken ground but upon arrival to Baranco camp the clapping, smiling porter team burst into song with Jambo – Jambo Bwana, and so on : – )
Stuart looked around in disbelief and at the towering walls that encase Baranco camp and asked Paul where the hell was the route out – Paul pointed to a shear face that i must admit looks very daunting. For those who have climbed it is actually not so bad and for those who are coming rest assured 2hrs will have you on the top with fresh pop corn waiting you.
The Brads condition worsened, his legs felt good but he was drained of energy due to the continuing Bali belly syndrome that was gripping him still. This day had a picture perfect ending with the multitude of colored tents as the sun came out to light up the impressive Uhuru peak. As the Twin Peak Team awaited Sherif’s delightful soup ‘The Brad’ still had enough of his cheeky Northern humor to creep up on the porters and snap a picture of the guys huddled together whilst drifting off to sleep listening to the likes of Boys to Man and Celine Dion, I’m sure ‘The Brad’ had The Boys to man C.D secretly stashed in his collection back in the UK.
And on that note we await for The Twin Peaks team to get back onto those PC’s to complete the final updates for me to upload. The news from the bush and Esilalei Maasai community is that the rains seem to have arrived and the water tanks that combine to 10,000 liters which were installed by B2B during the droughts of 2009 are progressively filling once again, so fresh water as opposed to muddy puddles is now on tap. Also steps forward into assessing what the lay of the land holds are in the pipe line and we have a local expert in Geology who has assisted in several water projects arranged to head to Esilalei this Wednesday 31st. As soon as we get the results to this first survey we will be sure to let all the readers of Bushupdates know what the next steps are. Thanks again to all the family members, friends and former clients of B2B who pledged money to a very needy cause and a hats off to the ‘The Brad’, Clare and Stuart who piloted the Twin Peaks 2010 – as we have already mentioned Twin Peaks – February 2011 is currently being finalized to coincide with a February full moon with a slightly modified version, allowing an extra day for Meru and an upgrade in accommodation whilst in and around Arusha. We are hoping to see the ‘Abbot team leader’ ( Clare ) to come back with a girly posse, as she was slightly outnumbered up there, come on ladies make 2011 one to aim for. Please drop us a line to www.bush2beach.com or www.africanrootsfoundation.org if wanting to sign up or learn more.