The agony, joy and pride of exploring Mount Kilimanjaro

28Jul 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
The agony, joy and pride of exploring Mount Kilimanjaro

“climbing Mountain Kilimanjaro is a tough task. To scale this snow-peaked highest mountain in Africa, one has to be physically fit and forbearing.

But it is so wonderful when one manages to climb the mountain up to its highest point; the Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters above sea level)”, says artist Mrisho Mpoto who was among 58 trekkers of the Geita Gold Mine Kilimanjaro Challenge organised event, It was staged against HIV and AIDS.

Describing his success to reach one of the highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Stella point (5,685m ASL), Mpoto who led the group as Ambassador of the GGM’s Kili Challenge, recommends the role played by the professional mountain guides and porters from the ZARA Tanzania Adventures who lead the group to Uhuru peak.

“Our six-day expedition was very tough but my special salute goes to mountain guides under their leaders Faustine Chombo, Japhary Kimolo and Theophil Karia for their support, as without them I could not even made it to the second camp,” said Mpoto.

Mpoto who was accompanied by the two orphaned young guys from Moyo wa Huruma Orphanage Centre in Geita who made it to highest peak said; “The two young guys were Jacob Musa (16) and his young sister Lucy Mashauri (15), both standard six pupils at Mbugani Primary School in Geita township.

. They shouted: “Hurrah!” because they managed to reach the snow-capped peak, representing a cause for local orphans.”

Mashauri and Musa recalls it was around 7.30 a.m. on Friday after a breathtaking two and half hour slow walk from Stella Point that she managed to reach Uhuru Peak, 5,895 metres, above sea level.

“For some seconds I totally forgot that I came along with my young sister, then some 15 minutes or so later turning I saw her coming towards me in a second group and it summed up that he has made it. We both made it! He recollected that was the culmination of “our seven day Mt. Kilimanjaro climb” through the toughest Machame route (also known as Whisky route) that to him still seems like a dream.

“Reaching Uhuru peak was a dream come true but the actual climb is a long episode that one needs to grow old first to forget, and I will never forget.

“I and my brother Jacob selected ourselves to join the lifetime scaling and endorsed by fellow orphans at the Moyo wa Huruma orphanage centre.

Each and every one at the orphanage wishes to emulate our well wishers for the Geita Gold Mine, whose acting managing director Simon Shayo joined us in our group and reached the summit.“ said Michael Roma from Moyo wa Huruma Orphanage centre who was among the 38 trekkers in the expedition.

Climbers from GGM had enough walking and hills climbing exercises prior to our departure to Moshi on July 15, 2016.

We received detailed briefing on the actual climb, and prepared for the first hike early next day in
Machame.

At dawn on July 16 we left the hotel for a ride to Machame gate. After formalities including registration for each climber a flag-off function was organised for our expedition.

Former president of the United Republic of Tanzania Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, graced the ceremony. I remember him announcing: “I ask the expedition to go to Uhuru peak and while up there loudly declare in and beyond that Tanzania without AIDS is possible.”

The first day trek was tough by all measures. “Walking the 18 kms from Machame Gate to Machame Camp was beyond my expectation and that of many of my fellow climbers … I arrived totally exhausted. I was in fact feeling ill, wishing to go back and return to Geita for good.”

However, the expedition captain Calvin Yasiwa in fact managed to cajole me to move on during the second and each of the following days.

However, the real challenge came on the 21 July, when the expedition was summiting. We left from Barafu Camp where we arrived earlier in the afternoon to start the most daring climb to Stella Point and ultimately Uhuru peak. It was freezing and at Barafu winds were blowing fast.

The climb was very slow and the chief guide called for constant breathing breaks. I felt my body aching all over, air was thinner and walking with a torch on the forehead was tricky. At times I found myself sleeping but the requirement was to keep on walking ahead and more above.

At dawn our expedition managed to reach Stellar Point, I thought that was it but I was proved wrong. The order came from the chief guide: “Climbers should stand up and move ahead to cover the last 200 meters to Uhuru Peak, but I remember our ambassador Mrisho Mpoto ended his journey there!”

“To say the truth, I don’t believe the remaining distance was really 200 meters. Because we walked for over 2 hours lucky enough I and my young sister Lucy we ultimately made it. “said Musa.

The other important person was our expedition physician, He was all over attending to climbers with various complains now and then. The good doctor was always keen to check on my fitness and that of my brother.

He further said: “Expedition captain, the chief guide, porters, and all members of the expedition I thank you for your assistance while we were on that giant mountain. I will always remember you!”

“I almost forgot to record here that on reaching Mweka Gate after two days descent we found our fellow 35 trekkers of the GGM Kili challenge 2016 who cycling their bicycles around Mt. Kilimanjaro with the same purpose and the Moshi Distrct Commissioner, Kippi Warioba, our Ambassador, Mrisho Mpoto, and other government officials waiting for us on behalf of the Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Saidi Mecki Sadiki who climbed with us to the Shira plateau.

I and my sister shook hands with them and received strong joyfully hugs from various top government officials from Kilimanjaro region including Chief Park warden (Tourism) for Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) Charles Ngendo who represented the Chief Park Warden of the organization, Betrita Loibook.” she observed how lovely the climb ended!

Sharing the ‘taste’ of Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing, some of the trekkers of this year’s expedition who reached the highest peak experience all kinds of the weather.

“Apart from enjoying the majestic of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we real experience all kinds of the worlds weather from tropical to artic ones..” said GGM worker Yasiwa .

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