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CLIMBING KILIMANJARO, 2005

It would be not so much a climb as a strenuous walk, they said!

Three of us from Whitbourne did a sponsored walk (climb!) in September. We wanted to raise £5000 towards rainwater harvesting at the hostel at Mapinduzi.

The highest mountain in Africa - 19,340 feet above sea level.
We took the longer Shira route to give our bodies more time to acclimatise to the high altitude, and to get away from the crowds! In 5 days, we (at least, two of us), reached the top.
Ready to go - we all feel a bit apprehensive! Chris, on the left, was a last-minute recruit to our team. We met him at the airport, discovered that he was in our group, and co-opted him as a team member. He was young, fit and well equipped! David, next to him, is our Rector, then Simon and Brenda.
We were based at the Marangu Hotel. Their organisation was first-class. For four of us, we had three guides and twelve porters. The porters carried tents, food, equipment, our kit and their own. They cooked breakfast and prepared packed lunches for each day. We left camp before them each morning while they were packing up. They passed us on the way, and usually had the tents up before we arrived.
As soon as we arrived, we had hot sweet tea and peanuts for energy. In the evening was a three-course meal, and snacks appeared at every opportunity. At Shira 1 camp we woke up to snow on the ground!
Next day three of us struggled to climb the Cathedral The other one took a short cut, with Howard as her guide
At the top - but only of the Cathedral! We all felt a bit happier by this stage, knowing that we were nearly half-way and had not disgraced ourselves.
In the Barranco Gorge we found ourselves dwarfed by the giant lobelias. It was very cold at night, and with more-or-less equal days and nights, being so close to the equator, there was nothing else to do after 6 pm supper but take to our sleeping bags for warmth. They call it scrambling, but it was hard going climbing out of the gorge! That night the party set off for the summit. After climbing all night, Simon had to give up but David and Chris went on to the very top. Sorry, David's camera froze up so no photo!
Joseph, our chief guide, has been to the top more than thirty times. Back at the hotel he presented David and Chris with their certificates.
... and we all posed for a final photograph.

As a result of this climb and our generous sponsors, the hostel at Mapinduzi was finished and rainwater harvesting installed.
Then on to Tanga. First stop, Mapinduzi, where the hostel was nearly ready for occupation. At Misufini - bad news, the well had run dry and a new one must be dug. The children, on holiday from school, were much now more confident.
And finally, at Buhuri, we spent a morning unpacking and testing computers. This really was a flying visit - the chaps had to get back to work. But the work in Tanga goes on. In partnership with VSO, Tanga Together and our representatives in Tanga, there were HIV/AIDS workshops going on in October/November, and INSET in English and Computer training for secondary school teachers planned for November/December (2005).