February 10 – The Team is on Their Way

The BCACL Team in Arusha

We left the hotel in Arusha this morning, an excited and satisfied group.  The excitement was on everyone’s face and in their voices as we moved our duffel bags and packs from our rooms to the parking lot.  The satisfaction was in their hearts, because even though the mountain is still to be climbed and there are many, many challenges ahead, we all know that we already have the accomplishment of making it all the way to Africa and that no group has ever done what we are attempting to do. Just making it this far is an accomplishment that few could dream of!

Brock's trail-rider teamWe loaded into 11 Land Cruisers for the 3 hour drive out to the western edge of Kilimanjaro.  The road was DUSTY! We drove to the National Park gate where we signed in and registered our group.  But the farms we passed along the way with our heavily load 4wheel drive vehicles were full of smiling faces.

We have spoken often back in Canada and now that we are together in Africa of TEAMWORK.  We have individual teams that make up our larger team from Canada, but we also have our African teammates, or “brothers” and “sisters” as one of BAI chief guides, Safi says.  We also know that the teamwork that will bring us success is possible because of COMMUNITY.  We are part of a large group of interdependent people.  If you could have seen the hundreds of people at the park gate getting our expedition organized and underway, you would have felt as we do that we have an entire community supporting us.  More than 220 men presented their papers and got their park permits to join us on the mountain to work as porters and camp helpers.  I saw many old friends and familiar faces.

Our first lunch break on the mountain

In addition to our camp supplies, there are many loads of food for these men.  They will be eating the dish they love every night, “Ugali”.  Several members of our team have said that they want to try Ugali soon, and I am sure we will.  But we also look forward to the wonderful meals of food more familiar to us that will be prepared by Hodson, our head chef and his able staff. 

John from Star TV filming the team’s journeyAs we prepare to begin walking, I have enjoyed talking with John Lawanga who has been videotaping our group since we arrived.  John is filming our adventure for Star Television here in Africa.  He told me how interested he is that such a group as ours is so attracted to Tanzania’s highest point.  He told me he is eager to tell the story to Tanzanians of this group of Canadians who have dreamed, worked so hard and come so far to challenge themselves on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.  He says Tanzanians will be proud and inspired when they hear this story.  I am thinking there are many others back in Canada and around the world who would feel the same way if they saw this team, determined and brave, starting up the trail today.

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