A group of 16 students and teachers completed a feat during the half term break that impresses me no end. They attempted the seemingly insurmountable task of climbing Kilimanjaro. This is no easy walk in the park and involved a great deal of training before hand including long 8 hour walks in forests and up mountains and across dusty pot holed Kampala Streets. They shopped for thermals, packed and re packed back packs, tried out anti altitude sickness pills, experimented with boots and band aids and psyched themselves up with t-shirts and group pow-wows. And all the while I sat by, on the side lines watching in awe. For about 5 minutes I contemplated going. And then I remembered that I am not fit, hate exercise, can’t fathom the idea of 5 days without a shower, vomited on my first night in Copper Mountain Colorado ( altitude 9700 feet, Kili is 19,430 feet), and that I am, despite my hopeful ideas to the contrary, quite a princess. So it was not to be and part of me is furious with myself for being such a wimp and even more in awe than ever at those who even attempted such a journey.
11 out of the 16 made it to the final summit but all are heroes in my eyes for putting one foot in front of another, one at a time, for 6 days. I applaud them and am fascinated by the resilience and bravery they showed. That and the ability to endure great smelly discomfort for nearly a week. And here I am, complaining about 2 nights in a tent. Pathetic.
Please read my friend Alison’s account of the trip. It really captures how it felt and is a great piece of writing.
Well done climbers!
A cockroach jumped on me twice. The first time I was at the club, it was pouring with rain and everyone was huddled inside by the bar, wet towels in piles by our feet. Children shivered in damp bathing suits waiting for the sun to come back out and grown ups sipped beer and munched on guacomole and chips. All of a sudden I felt something on my leg. At first I thought I must have brushed against the strap of a raffia pool bag, but when I looked down I saw the horrid truth. It was a huge black roach crawling up my shin. Yes I screamed and shook my leg and pointed and made a spectacle out of myself, but I don’t care. Because there was a cockroach on MY leg. As I frantically shook my leg it came off and started to run, very quickly along the wall of the bar, still too close to my feet. Finally a bemused waiter came to sweep it away into the rain where it would battle against the sharp rain drops for it life. I would have preferred it killed, dead, squashed, eliminated, but that’s just me.
Then this past Tuesday night I was standing behind Trooper who sat, texting like mad into her cell phone, with a large white towel wrapped around her damp freshly washed hair. I offered to comb it out and braid it and just I I whipped that towel off her head I felt something hit my chest. At first I thought it was a moth, the speed with which it has slapped into me and then taken off seemed moth-like. I screamed and jumped and acted a little freaked out until, out of the corner of my eye I spotted it. The roach was running along the arm of the sofa, inches from me and it was enormous, ugly and brown. At this point the jumping and screaming and scratching at my chest intensifed somewhat. Dinner was a mess, I couldn’t eat until it was dead and despite handsome and heroic handsome spraying cancer causing roach killing spray all over the place we couldn’t find it. Then it ran across the room. right under the coffee table, then under a chair and finally with more spray and squealing ( there were four girls there that night) the roach took one last gasp and stopped. A broom was brought into the sweep in outside.
Okay. You might laugh and call me hysterical. You might point fingers and ask how I can cope in Africa, but every one has their room 101 and that is mine. I cannot handle a roach.
To tell you the truth I think I may be mildly traumatized, I keep thinking there is something crawiling on me. Often it is just a stray hair that has fallen out, but my skin is crawling never the less. This morning two dead roaches, lying on the backs greeted me when I came down stairs. Must have been all that roach spray.
Just writing this has made my itch.
We were in Sipi with three other families so each night at dinner we were 15. The children ranged in age from 10 to 15 with only 3 boys yet they were all in sync and ran about like fair nymphs of the forest. Two of the families brought their tents and camped, one being the family I have previously referred to as The Super Campers. Well now I have met two Super Campers. They both arrived and strenuously put up tents, blew up mattresses, arranged tables and chairs, unpacked mini stoves, kettles and thankfully wine, cashews and olives. While I was ordering hot water for tea and hot chocolate, there they were boiling water and playing with stackable pots.
It was a remarkable thing to see from someone who is definitely not a camper. I couldn’t fathom why someone would go the trouble of camping when there were perfectly decent Bandas merely feet away. They tried to convert me with the largesse of their tent and the comfort they felt, but I could see no comfort in sleeping like a row of sardines with my daughter’s elbow in my face. I guess it takes all sorts and I know that I am on the side of the non campers, unless I am in a place where one must camp by necessity, as we did in Murchison.
However, Trooper and Princess think Camping is a GREAT idea and why are we so boring sleeping on beds??
I drove! I did it..all by myself. I am feeling very brave. I am pathetic.
It is confession time. I have not driven since the accident, except for one hair raising time when I had to drive F to the hospital. ( He had Vertigo, brought on by the whiplash from the accident, ironically). So today I had to go out and it seemed too silly to treat F as a driver, so I got into the car and with equal measures of trepidation and pride I drove out of the gate, all by myself.
Truth be told, I didn’t do a whole lot of driving before the accident but since then the fear has worsened and then I started to hate my wimpy self and my husband was looking at me like I was really useless. When someone looks at you like that, they can’t fancy you at the same time. So for me and for him, I needed to tame that Beast. ( Who is by the temprorarly resurrected until we find another car.)
I am the kind of driver that loves a big Canadian Highway, tons of space, smooth concrete, no crazy motorcycles that appear out of the corner of my blind eye. So for me Kampala streets are basically a disaster. It is like a driving video game, only not as fast and if you do hit someone then you lose more that a virtual life. You need to drive with peeled eyeballs and never lose your cool. People do not follow rules here. Rules are not something they need. It is total anarchy on those roads and it is scary.
And since I am feeling so brave I am going to mention that it is the very last chance to VOTE! Yes, the bloggies are closing tomorrow and don’t let the fact that I am in Africa now, and rather far from Latin America (Trinidad), bother you one bit. I would say that is reason enough to win!