Exactly today a year ago, on February 25, began the joint project of the Ladies Trekking Club and Impatiens Kilimanjari Foundation – the Dreamers & Doers book trekking trip. Ten women of different nationalities trekked together to the Roof of Africa. During this trip were taken photos that are used in the book. We will now travel back in time and remember how it all happened. In the following days we will look back into each day by sharing the emotions of one of the women through her story that you can also read from the book “Dreamers & Doers”.
We would be happy to publish the entire story but then the books would not be bought. The purpose of the book and the entire project is actually much wider. We want to use these stories to inspire women to follow more their dreams but also to give the children of Africa the chance to use in classes their own school textbooks. A Dreamers&Doers book for every woman equals a textbook for a child in Tanzania.
But let us start our journey. Many people have made this trek before us, and many will come after, but these were our days and our emotions about our wonderful trekking trip to the Roof of Africa.
The adventure begins now: The Northern Circuit Wilderness Route via the Shira Plateau
DAY ONE – 26 FEB.
MORUM BARRIER GATE (3,410 meters / 11,200 feet) ~ SHIRA 1 CAMP (3,505 meters / 11,500 feet)
The blank sheet of paper – Erla Zwingle – American
“I have always loved beginnings. Some people are nervous about starting something new; they’re worried that they’ll make mistakes or look silly. But for me, the first day of almost anything is full of the promise of exciting and interesting discoveries. Being a journalist is the perfect work for me, because it puts me in the middle of new people, new activities, and even new problems. “Let’s find out” is probably going to be inscribed on my tombstone, I say it so often……”
DAY TWO – 27 FEB
SHIRA 1 CAMP ~ SHIRA 2 CAMP (3,950 meters / 12,600 feet)
The Cathedral Caroline McCarthy – American
“…Our second day was our first “long” day of the trek, with something like six or seven hours of hiking ahead of us depending on whether we wanted to take the longer route to the top of the Shira Plateau’s rocky “cathedral,” a formation that marks the highest point on what was once Kilimanjaro’s original volcanic cone. I wasn’t looking forward to this, given my lack of sleep and lingering feeling that I hadn’t trained well enough for Kili, but I chose the “cathedral” option since I figured that if I were struggling on summit night and uncertain I’d make it to Uhuru Peak, it’d be going through my altitude-sickness-addled head that “I wish I’d done that damned cathedral hike.”…”
DAY THREE – 28 FEB
SHIRA 2 CAMP ~ MOIR CAMP (4,205 meters / 13,800 feet)
My mountain day – Karen Kasmauski – American
“…The third day was a quilt of images burned in my memory: A singular water-buffalo hoofprint preserved in a patch of moist soil; a cluster of white everlasting flowers snuggled in a crevasse of a lichen-covered boulder; the bleached horns of a baby Eland antelope who lost its way; ghostly silhouettes of the rare Senecio Kilmanjari, a giant groundsel found only on the mountain, looming in the darkening sky; the empty husks of a fallen Lobelia Deckenii; black obsidian reminders of the mountain’s volcanic past scattered along the pathway….”
DAY FOUR – 01 MARCH
MOIR CAMP ~ POFU CAMP (4,025 meters / 13,200 feet)
Boredom – Nadia Marquard Otzen – Danish
“…In Danish there’s a word called “ørkenvandring” which directly translates “desert trek.” However, the word is also used to describe intense boredom. Walking through the alpine desert, no turns or twists, no marks in the landscape to show our progress, I truly felt the meaning and origin of that expression. I was bored. It wasn’t a disinterested, uninvolving kind of boredom, it was the boredom that rose from lack of the kind of visual or intellectual stimulation that our brains are so accustomed to be fed, even overfed, back home. Here the landscape seemed like a constant unchanging backdrop as we, in slow, repetitive movements – the heart struggling to keep up – made our way across the various shades of grey….”
DAY 5 – 02 MARCH
POFU CAMP ~ RONGAI 3 CAVES CAMP (3,950 meters / 12,960 feet)
Laughter and high spirits – Cheryl Yeoh – Malaysian
“…Another favorite moment of mine during the trek came later that afternoon. Nadia, Katrina and I decided to drag our mats and sleeping bags out to a nearby cliff overlooking a dramatic view of the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. Basking in the glistening sun and cool breeze, we chatted for hours about everything from love, relationships, family history, fears, and disappointments to our hopes for the future. I felt extremely lucky to be there at the time, that we had such wonderful opportunities bestowed upon us, and realized that it’s really up to each of us to fully seize and embrace it…”
DAY 6 – 03 MARCH
RONGAI 3 CAVES CAMP ~ OUTWARD BOUND CAMP (4,750 meters / 15,585 feet)
Pole, pole, pole – Tseren Dolgor Enebish – Mongolian
“…First part of the journey is really rough, and at some point I have the feeling that we are walking on the moon. I see the high peak getting closer in the east and it looks amazing. I stop several times to take photos of the porters with the mountain in the background. (I will never forget my Tanzanian friends – actually I do not even like to use the word “porter.” Before I came to Tanzania I didn’t even know what it meant exactly, because in my country we have a little truck called Porter. I was a bit confused.)…”
DAY SEVEN – 04 MARCH
OUTWARD BOUND CAMP ~ UHURU PEAK (5,895 meters / 19,341 feet) ~ MILLENIUM CAMP (3,810 meters / 12,500 feet)
“Oldonyo Oibor!” – Theresia Ismaili Majuka – Maasai
“…Suddenly, I felt my toes and they were in pain from cold. It was so cold. I never knew before how cold is cold. And all that ice! Few steps left to go and I was there together with the other eight of us on the top! I could see far away, so far… I was happy and sad at the same time. I was touched by the distance, space and the depth of this view. Yes, it is our special mountain, I knew it right then. Oldonyo Oibor!…”
DAY EIGHT – 05 MARCH
MILLENIUM CAMP ~ MWEKA GATE (1,830 meters / 6,000 feet) ~ ARUSHA
Filling me up with happiness – Katrina Sokk – Estonian
“…For the past seven days I had been really humble and cautiously respectful towards the mountain. I was afraid to upset it by being overly self-confident or vain. The anticipation to meet the mountain had been with me for exactly a year and had been the invitation to the beginning of a fresh start after the hardest year of my life. Like a present, just after I had decided to start consciously putting myself out of my comfort zone to find the passion for life again that I had forgotten…”
DAY NINE – 06 MARCH
We all had different reasons to go on our journey but we share a common goal – take our message “Everybody has the right to education” to the peak of Kilimanjaro. The Ladies Trekking Club supports girls who would not be able to obtain or complete school education without help. Each lady joining our club supports school education of Maasai girls. The more “dreamers and doers” we have in the Ladies Trekking Club, the more we contribute towards educating the girls.
We spent a memorable day together with the children, whose education our charity program Impatiens Kilimanjari supports. A good deed can be anonymous or personifilied. It was a day full of joy and emotions.