Rather appropriate for the occasion, I had a mountain of tasks to complete in the morning. Yesterday, I failed to log on to the Internet and I thought the system was down. In reality, I found out this morning, I had run out of credit. There were three urgent tasks I had to complete before embarking for the 3rd annual Mwalimu Nyerere/Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb:
- email photos of yesterday's press conference to journalists
- file next week's article for my weekly newspaper column
- email parts photos to equipment manufacturer Hydraform
Jaffar is in good spirits, which is an extremely important character trait ahead of any Kilimanjaro climb. Before we boarded the car he called everyone who was near the car - there were about 15 porters waiting for other clients - and insisted we take a photo together in front of the Land Rover.
When we stopped at the supermarket on the Moshi - Arusha road, one of two policemen on patrol recognized me and later told me he is from Butiama. Later they recognized Jaffar and from their excitement I thought they would have asked for an autograph. They did not.
|L-R, the author of this post, Jaffar Amin, and Yahoo, our experienced mountain guide.|
Before today, I imagined trekking in the rain presented no extra challenges. I was wrong. The slopes are slippery and physically testing, both on ascents and descents.
Because it was overcast, darkness came quickly and I was the only one who carried a head torch. I had the extra task not only of lighting the path ahead of Yahoo, our guide, but also for Jaffar, in the middle. Furthermore, I also had to light up my own path. It was a case of swinging up for Yahoo, midway for Jaffar, and down at my feet.
At Mti Mkubwa camp I thought I heard Jaffar groaning in pain in his tent, and I feared this year's climb might end early. I was mistaken, because at dinner he seemed fine.
Next: The Seven Hills challenge.
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