In order to get to Kili, you need to get to Moshi. There are busses that leave for Moshi from Dar every morning at 6:20 am but Mama Keki had called me up the day before and asked if I wanted a ride to Moshi as she knew someone who was going through there. I had planned to take a bus with two other volunteers that I had met in Zanzibar ( Simon and Julie ) and explained that to her and she told me there was enough space for all of us and just like that we had a ride to Moshi – 8 hours away from Dar. We were told to be ready at 6:30 am and to meet in front of the mosque.
That morning I got up at 5 to be ready for 6:30. It was pouring that morning and I was glad that we had basically packed everything into a garbage bag and put it in the duffel bag therefore making everything waterproof from the inside. Anyways by 6:30 we were in the car and on our way.. One of the girls in the car had actually climbed Kilimanjaro a couple of months back and so it was helpful to hear all of her little tips about the mountain and the amount of training that she had done and so on. Once again the point was made that determination was the key to making it to the summit of this majestic mountain.
By the time we arrived in Moshi it was about 3 or 4 pm. My hotel had been booked as part of the package to climb kili and as soon as I had checked in I met my guide Freddy. He was wearing a cap and a buttoned up shirt and told me to put my stuff in my room and I was going to get debriefed about the next day. Julie and Simon were only to be in Moshi for a night or two and went to find a place to stay and we decided that we would meet up for dinner.
Freddy told me about the plan for the next day and that we would be picked up at 9 and then go to the offices and then to Machame gate where we were to start our trek. I was also introduced to one of the other members who was to be part of my group to climb the mountain.After he was done the debriefing I could see Kili from where we were sitting. I had seen Kili for the first time about 2 months ago when I was on my way to Arusha and was completely mesmerized by it. Even now I looked at it completely awe stricken.
I then had to go and call someone from Moshi who was to bring me the rest of the equipment that I needed to rent and had not found in Dar. Luckily I had a friend who had a hook up in Moshi and so instead of getting charged in dollars and at extremely expensive rates I was able to get cheaper rates getting charged in Tshillings. A guy called Evans( very helpful) came to the hotel and brought me all the equipment that I had asked for and I had to choose what kind of boots I wanted to wear ( such as there were light comfortable shoes but not that much ankle support and then there were good ankle support ones but heavy ) and at that point I really wished Tara was there with me telling me which one was better…luckily I found one with good ankle support and not too heavy…By the time I was done with all of this it was almost 7 pm and I got a call from Simon and Julie asking about dinner. They had found a place just down the road and were coming up so we could all go for dinner together… I was glad I had them there that night in Moshi with me ..I was feeling a little bit nervous about the next day and it was good to have friends close by… We found a kind of outdoor food court right outside the hotel and we went there…It was like a food court but outside and lit up by dim Christmas bulbs..We went from place to place and most of them had the same kind of menus which would include chicken and chips or chicken and roti or chicken and rice..and so we ordered and sat down outside. (Simon and Julie were two volunteers I had met in Zanzibar about two months ago and Tara and I had gone to see them about a month ago and they had just spent the last week at Wipahs with us and their lives were on the road too..they were on their way to Arusha to take a bus to Nairobi and then go to Madagascar for 3 months..). We spoke about our plans and how we hoped to meet up somehow again in the next few months somewhere in Africa. We were all exhausted and headed back to the hotel at 9. We said our goodbyes and I went back to my room. I repacked by whole bag with all the new rented equipment and headed to bed.
I sat in bed and checked my email: I had received an email from the girl who was in the car with a little bit of inspiration. Another friend of hers had written her letters for every camp they stopped at on their way to the summit with a little bit of inspiration and so she decided to share some of those with me. These were the tips they included : “Remember that the climb is way more important and memorable than even reaching the top, so make the most of it!” “Basic rule: just say Bismillah ( In the name of God) before leaving every hut and you’ll feel a spring in your step :P… Please try to never miss prayers – you are an ambassador of Islam even on Mt. Kilimanjaro! 🙂 ”
“Take energy from the beauty around you…”
“You’re making it to the top with your body and training your soul too!” The rest of her email read:Anyway, I hope this helps! Just keep yourself motivated and picture yourself at the top because you’ll (literally) be above the clouds and on top of the world 🙂
Try to get as much sleep as you can, take it slow and have lots of chocolate 😛 Basically, just don’t give up!
And don’t worry about the altitude and the diamox, it’s all in the mind 🙂
I’m so excited for you! I wish I could go as well.. Have a great great trip!
I’m praying for you!”
I appreciated this email but at that point didn’t value it as much as I did on the mountain where I really underestimated the power of encouragement…it would come in handy in the next few days..more than I could ever imagine..
I also spoke to my family that night and their support really never goes unappreciated – my mom reminded me to have fun and be in the moment and my dad reassured me and told me it was ok if I was getting cold feet because that was completely normal.
I now had everything on my “list” and was ready to go to sleep. Tomorrow was D day..the day I had been planning for for almost 3 months now….