March 7 – A Special Time with our Chagga Staff

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

I am calling you from Arusha, Tanzania today is March 7th . We descended 6500 feet from that camp at the top of the forest I described to you yesterday. I may not have reported that, reminded you that we had traversed Kilimanjaro far to the east from the level that we ascended through the forest before our Kilimanjaro climb. It was a totally different trail, and I think that the lush green of the forest was beautiful to the group as they walked down to meet our land rovers and checked out at the park gate, at the Mweka Village.

Nicholas, Berg Adventures chief African GuideNicholas, Berg Adventures chief African guide, had told me that he wanted to have a lunch catered for us up at the park gate, so everybody was well fed before the quite long drive back to Arusha and it was beautiful, you wouldn’t believe it, we had really quite elegant spread there at the park gate with lush flowers all around. There was a paper work to be done as we checked out but we enjoyed it in our muddy state, we were very dirty and muddy from the walk through the forest and of course of all this last week on the mountain, but we enjoyed a nice meal there, and then we did something very special, there were 59 of the chagga staff, porters, guides, cooks that have been across the mountain and in many cases with the guys up to the summit of Kilimanjaro with us this week. It was a very warm time, I complimented them obviously on their service and I tried to describe it to them that the symbol of their extended hand when they reached out to give us a hand up over a difficult step or up in the high rarefied air here when we were struggling so was a symbol that would stay for us in our life back in Canada forever, for a long, long time, we will always remember their faces.

Buffet in the African "wilderness"I should say to you that I reported something a little inaccurate yesterday. I told you that it looked to me like no one ever thought of stopping as they reached the top of Africa on March 6th. In conversations with many, if not most of this group, I was told something very different, there were many times most of this group wasn’t sure that they could make it but somehow they always managed to reach inside and there was more than one of them that said that they had the motivation and inspiration of the chagga staff to thank for, the fact that they continued going. It was a touching time, we had to say good bye to them, we drove away in our land rovers. We had to take George to the International Airport for his flight back to Newfoundland, you probably remembered George joined us last minute, just before the orientation, I complimented him for being the guy who could cut the schedule to the closest, we got him a quick shower in Moshi, which is really a cool town. I think that the guys that rode back with George, enjoyed stopping in Moshi, having a beer while he got a shower and we just barely put him on his international flight back to Ethiopia in time.

Julie and MichelWhen we got to Arusha, we were really happy to see Doug, our Zanzibar ground support team, he ran out to meet us as we pulled in with our muddy land rovers, it is good to have him back with the team, and of course he was very happy to see Angie. She ran up and took a shower and Doug stayed down with us as Sharon and I relaxed as we waited for all the trucks to get back into town.

Our adventures are not over, so stay with us, a group tomorrow at 8am, that is going to be Dennis, Sharon, Charles, Paul , Larry, Julie and Michel are going to be picked up by Eric, one of my old safari guide drivers here, even though this guys didn’t have much time for a full safari since their International flight don’t leave till at night, of march 9th, we decided to descend them down to Tarengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater and the safari experience that they are going to have out there is going to be pretty amazing, it is going to take a lot of their energy, CharlesI often describe the trip they are going to do as a great 5 day safari, we used to try to do it in three days with some groups but this guys have the energy to put a serious road trip and I think that the story that they will come home with will be great. Then in the afternoon, Brian, Laurie, John, Doug, Angie and myself are going to take a Twin Otter out to Serengeti, two of my drivers headed out today, it is a long drive out to Serengeti and they are going to meet us in the airstrip in the heart of Serengeti, they will probably have to clear the runway of zebras before we land. I will have two drivers waiting there and we are going to enjoy the wonders of Northern Tanzania, so it is an adventure that is worthy of the climb, of the accomplishments that this group just did for the cause of ALS awareness and research and we are going live large and have great full days and experiences and we are looking forward to report our adventures to you as we continue Climb for a Cure in Northern Tanzania.

Previous | Index | Next