Posted by: Laura Hartstone | 18 January, 2009

Mt Meru – Day One



The team, influenced mainly by the American members, sadly headed up Mount Meru knowing they would miss Obama’s inauguration, but left with an empowering thought in mind regarding the climb ahead, “Yes We Can!”.

After spending time at the School of St. Jude with founder, Gemma Sisia, the team headed to Mount Meru full of inspiration and excitement.  The School of St. Jude provides free education and boarding for the poorest of the poor in Tanzania. Each student receives uniforms, books, and a hot lunch…along with the best education in East Africa.

Big Ladies & Little Ladies

Big Ladies & Little Ladies

Mount Meru is visible from both St. Jude campuses and boarding houses, however, it is rare to find any student who has been to the base or had a chance to hike its trails.  3 Peaks 3 Weeks worked closely with the school to choose 12 girls from standard 6 (ages 11-12 typically) who were excelling in their studies to join the team for the first day up the mountain.  It is an incredible privilege for these girls to have the opportunity to join the team for a day on the mountain and a privilege for the team to be with such an incredible group of young women.  Perhaps one day a graduate of St Jude will join a future 3 Peaks team!

Leah hugs Yvette

Leah hugs Yvette

Though the days in between the climb are meant for rest, the team is very active in visiting the projects that 3 Peaks supports.  Unfortunately, after a visit to the hospital in Nairobi, and a brief meeting with the massage therapist in Arusha, Yvette’s status was not sufficient enough to allow her to continue the climb with the team.  She joined the team on day one, but descended to the bottom with the girls from St. Judes while the team pushed on for the summit, Socialist Peak. Yvette is suffering from leg and foot injuries and continuing physiotherapy in hopes to join the team for Kilimanjaro.

Kids heading back down

Kids heading back down

A report from the team was received late in the evening stating they had made it to the first hut, Miriakamba (elevation 2,514 m/8,250 ft).  While hiking they came in very close proximity to giraffes, buffalo, baboons, and monkeys. The team also came a bit too close to stinging nettle, a plant that causes severe burning and itchiness, during breaks along the trail. They have said they learned quickly to look for it and not make that mistake again!

The climb up Meru is very steep compared to Kenya and the team has termed it “relentless” though they are enjoying the workout, stunning views of Kilimanjaro and the lush vegetation. After sleeping in tents on Kenya, they have found that the Austrian chalet-style huts on Meru are quite luxurious. Those who have been to the huts would agree that “luxurious” is a bit of an overstatement, however, the flushing toilets, electricity, and hand soap have the team in good spirits.  “We are basking in the illusion that we are on vacation”, read yesterday’s report.  Perhaps altitude is already affecting some of them!

Again, the team is very disappointed by their missing link but are looking forward to her fit and healthy sound return. Fiona Macleod, the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks event manager from Save the Rhino, has joined the team for the next two climbs and made a wonderful addition…though she was nervous, we think she will do fine!

Fiona Macleod

Fiona Macleod



  1. Hello there Rachel! Just wanting to check in on you & hoping all is going well for you & the girls. Bet your’e having the adventure of a life time there & will have alot to talk about when you get back home. Take care of your self. Love, Tom & Linda

  2. Gretchen, What Tattoos? Love, Mom

  3. Climb on girls!! Your dedication amazes me. So proud of each and every one of you. Feel such a connection to you all, knowing you are there with Brooke. Love you Brooke. Looking forward to hearing your voice again when you get back down. Love, MOM

  4. Once again, I send to each of you all you need to reach this summit…to see yet another success on this incredible journey.
    Love, light, strength, and good health on this climb. Post more photos when you return. It is so fun to see those.
    Love you more than you can ever know, Leah.
    Rock on.

  5. Mara and all, we hope all is well! Give a prayer and a cheer for Obama while you’re up there on the summit, on the eve of his era. Washington is all ‘a twitter’ in anticipation! I hope the altitude is treating everyone better this time! Can’t wait to hear your stories! Love, Mom

  6. Brooke,
    I hope the first day of Meru went smoothly! You are probably getting up now to begin day two as I write this. Just know that I am thinking of you!
    I eagerly await the next update!

  7. Nicky Noodle, hope you have a vomy free climb this time round. Am loving the regular updates of what you are experiencing… well maybe not so much the altitude sickness… All going well for your return part-ay… much excitement. Enjoy day two of Mount Meru… x Lise

  8. Yvette,
    I bet Saint Jude’s has changed since the first time you were there… It will help you get on the top of Mount Meru in no time… Keep up the good spirit and remember that we are all thinking of you!

  9. Well done – and good luck for the second peak Lucinda great work!! Ian.

  10. Yvette, you and your team members are totally amazing! We are following your progress regularly,thinking of you and sending our love and best wishes for continuing health, energy and safety in your adventures. It must have been great to return to St.Judes. Good luck with Mt.Meru.All well here.Take care!Love Anna and co xx

  11. On this, the eve of the inauguration of our new American president, please take a moment to recognize how far we have come. Tuesday is the swearing in of Barack Obama- whose father was from Kenya. The world is getting smaller, we are all one, and the lines that divide us are fading. It is a time of hope and community. Love to you all.
    Leah’s Mom

  12. On this day that we remember Martin Luther King Jr, I am so thankful and uplifted by the inspiring way you women are living community and connection for all of us around the planet. I am sure the children of the School of St. Jude are thinking of all of you and the incredible contribution you are making to their lives and many more children in the future. Thanks for all you are doing and for each step you take on behalf of all the children!!! Asante Sana!!!!!

  13. To the whole team: it’s been wonderful reading your blogs and we are all so proud of what you have accomplished so far. I am thrilled that you were so enthused by the work of the LWF and St Jude’s and I’m sure you’ll have just a good a day when you meet the team from SIC. Looking forward to seeing the pix of you all in your fabulous Arusha jackets. Yvette, don’t feel too disappointed, these things happen, so let’s hope the physio gets you back in action in time for Kili. Fi, you’re a marvel. Enjoy the Mt Meru everyone and very good luck!

  14. My dearest Yvette, I hope the love of the little ones from St Jude’s (Adiga notably) will help you get better in time for the last climb!!! I can’t wait to hear all of your stories…

    To the entire team, well done! 2 down , 1 to go… We are all very proud of you, all around the world!

    Charlotte xxx


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