Now I understand why those soaps we used to watch long ago always ended abruptly. It was a hook to ensure we return for the next episode. I was just being mischievous last week. Trying to find a way to connect last week’s story to this week. The responses from some of you were hilarious. I even received one of those stickers on WhatsApp of a guy throwing a shoe at me. In short, the sudden ending worked hehe.

Soooo…. Back to the 5 AM of last week. Abel put us up in a hotel in the middle of town. By midnight, I had slowly managed to tune off the endless banter down the street and the bodaboda noise as they zoomed by. I finally fell asleep but little did I know there was a mosque nearby. The usual call to prayers at 5 am broke the relative silence of the early morning. It sounded like I had slept inside the mosque. Yes, it was that loud. From that point, sleep left. Maybe I should just have joined my fellow humans in maombi. Besides we needed them for the task ahead of us. At least I was able to catch up with my clan before they left for school and work.

Thankfully we were there for one night only. Abel picked us up after breakfast. We went to his office to clear some outstanding bills. No climbing the mountain on credit hehe. We might kwama and refuse to pay the balance. While there some mzungus came in who had just summited that morning. I looked at them in admiration which soon turned nauseating as they came closer. The body odour was quite strong (I’m choosing nice words here). Yaani this is how we will smell after almost a week of not showering?  I wondered. Anyhow conquering Kili is worth the pong, we consoled ourselves.

After settling kila kitu we were driven to another Panama. A much nicer hotel and in a serene neighbourhood. Barasa, our assistant guide went through all our stuff to ensure we had all we needed to accomplish the task ahead. He was a nice friendly guy that seemed to have a lot of confidence in us. Maybe it was our athletic appearance or it’s just part of his training to make every climber feel they can do it. A few things were missing so we sourced those from Abel, key among them was a mobile toilet. Looked like a cooler box for drinks but it was worth the 150 dollars we hired it for. Carry your loo up the mountain folks. Thank me later.

We had dinner and enjoyed our last hot shower and a warm bed for the rest of the week. This was after some briefing from Sam our main guide that evening. Wednesday 29th of June was the day. Sam and Abel’s guy picked us up and drove us to Machame gate. I’m told this is the second hardest route to the mountain top but the most scenic. Well, that was good news for my camera and me, the scenic part. The drive felt long. Sam informed us that we were driving the length of the mountain. So basically we will start walking back to Moshi town from Machame gate while on the mountain.

At Machame gate, we were met by a large group of young men. They were to be our crew for the climb. They offloaded the van and started rearranging our stuff according to Park regulations. I was impressed by how organized and strict the whole system was. A porter can only carry a maximum of twenty kilos. The three of us had about fourteen guys made up of guides, porters, chef, waiter, camp manager, tent setup guys and yes the loo guy. Did you know that even trash is weighed on your way out of the mountain? Now you know. That’s done to discourage littering. As a result, Kilimanjaro is one clean mountain. Our guides asked us if Mt Kenya is like that and we mumbled something under our breath. We must up our game.

It was a cold and wet start. Once the paperwork was complete We put on our ponchos and started our trek through the rainforest. This was about noon. It was a gentle uphill through the tree canopies that were dressed in green moss-like blankets. Seemed like the forest was feeling cold too. We trekked pole pole as we chatted with Barasa and Sam. Oh, and pole pole is the mountain anthem. It’s the only way to get up there. if you rush then you’re likely to burn out and not make it. We kept being reminded to slow down.

At this point, it still hadn’t hit me that this is Kilimanjaro we are climbing. This first section resembled the Elephant hill hike in the Aberdares. It’s easily the most difficult hike I have done so far. I got bored of this pole pole story and decided to move slightly faster. How hard could it be especially seeing that porters with twenty kilos on the heads and back are overtaking us like Subarus?

We got to camp at about 4 pm. And yes I was the first to get there out of the three of us climbers. But then I was like a homeless person because I didn’t know where our camp was or if our tents had been set up. There were many tents belonging to the other climbers and I almost sought refuge in one. The baridi was increasing and I was freezing fast. A few minutes later Sam arrived with my two teammates, Chihia and Sancho. We located our tents and quickly got into our mess tent for some hot tea and hopefully to generate some warmth.

Dinner was on point. Chef Suleiman is a gifted cook. He surprised us with five-star meals in a tent. He ensured we got the fuel we needed to climb in what we ate. I couldn’t remember the last time I slept in a camping tent but we each got into our sleeping bags all layered up, zipped up and attempted to sleep after dinner. It was a fairly ok night despite the baridi outside. And the silence was as loud as the darkness which had some healing effect. I felt like I was meant to be there, lying on the ground facing the roof of my small abode. I asked sir God, “Ehe so now?” I waited for his response till I fell asleep


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5 thoughts on “The Kili Dossier. Part II”

  1. Joseph Kahuko says:

    Yawa Lucas!! Please this suspense is not good for us..twanga stori yote, But real nice. I am starting my hiking journey tomorrow, target to climb Mt Kenya in 6 months, so enjoying this read. Looking forward to next Friday.

  2. Joe Wainaina says:

    No wonder you were missing in action for some time my brother……..and kumbe that’s where Sancho was also. We await the next instalment with bated breath!!

  3. Mitch says:

    Khai, what an ending.Hatuna budi ila we report every Friday at this shores…see you same time next week, same place, same zone.

  4. Nyambura says:

    Wow… waiting on the next episode

  5. Shiru says:

    Taking down notes… making my attempt next year…this is well written… can’t wait for the next episode.

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