Posted by: Laura Hartstone | 22 January, 2010

Village Visit

Jeanne with SIC support group

January 22nd

Support for International Change Meeting/Rest and Preparation afternoon/Carbo Loading (again) at Dinner

Last night at dinner – after we had already posted the blog we were treated to what was a rather bizarre and surreal experience.

The Managing Director slash Head Chef of our awesome Hotel presented our group with a donation to 3peaks3weeks. Whilst that was amazing, the real source of amazement was when he told us that his kitchen staff wanted to serenade us! – They sang a local church song which raised the roof and then invited us all to join in and took us from our seats. The entire restaurant was up and moving about and it has to be said that the number of ‘you would believe’ experience has just continued to increase. It was overwhelming and really hilarious.

So….onto today.

Got up early and went out to a small local village just outside of Arusha this morning to meet with a support group for local women predominantly who have HIV or AIDS. The support group is facilitated by Support for International Change (SIC) – the third and final grass roots charity that we support here and the one that we are climbing Kili on behalf of, and they do INCREDIBLE work.

Team watching presentations from SIC

The women offered us an insight into their own personal experiences by singing, role plays and inviting us into their homes and allowing us the opportunity to ask questions and get a better understanding the of the reality of their situations. We were also about to see the great work and benefit that SIC is providing to these small communities in their providing counseling, testing support, assistance, transport for medication and medical appointments and education – both for those diagnosed and as a preventative tool.

We were all blown away by the experience and had a lot to talk about this afternoon. All of us have a new appreciation of the work done over here and it is definitely a most deserving charitable organization.

Role Play Drama

The morning mentally and emotionally exhausting– physically exhausting also as we were asked to participate in a game of ‘tug of war’ – the support group wanted to show us that whilst they have been weak and sick in the past that with SIC they are now strong. We got FLOGGED! – 2 – nil and we left with our tails between our legs. Don’t think we were trying also. Harvey received a rope burn on her arm for her competitiveness and many others were dragged into no mans land. It was humiliating.

Tug of War (3 Peaks is strong....but maybe not that strong!)

We returned for lunch at the hotel and underwent our final briefing. Many of us had been living in a gorgeous bubble of denial about what to expect on kili but by the time that Ema, Paul and Laura had finished…..well without swearing, it is safe to say that we are all a little wiser….., nervous and somewhat scarred about the daunting task ahead.

The afternoon was a mixture of activities. Some headed into town for last minute errands, snacks and gelato – Niamh, Amy and Shelidan were gutted (to the point of near tears) to find the gelato shop already closed and some stayed behind to prepare themselves for the task ahead. Boo especially needed the remaining 7-10 hours to get her stuff together, pack and then re-pack several times. The team were delighted at dinner to collect up some of her spare ‘supplies’ when she finally learnt that she didn’t need 3 boxes of GU! – Yummy!

Speaking of dinner…..WOAH! The head chef come Managing Director put on a treat for us tonight. No one left unscathed. It was a Game Banguet and somewhere in all of our stomachs is some part of the big 5 – if we haven’t seen it, we have probably eaten it!  Our banguet included Thompson Gazelle, Wilderbeast, Warthog (think Pumba in the Lion King), Buffalo and some others that escape me – I am having a meat sweat as I write this and so a little vague.

We say farewell to what has been awesome accommodation – even if they can’t quite get the idea of laundry? Jess had her laundry returned to her via the rest of the team who received 1 -2 articles. It was an exercise in honesty and team cohesion by the hotel and we were thankful for the opportunity to shine. Those still without articles were not so happy – if anyone finds a purple striped Bra it belongs to Jeanne.

Right, so we’re off to pack out bags, get some serious shut eye – if the howling dogs, the on heat birds and the humongous cockroaches and slugs with allow us some respite and to prepare ourselves for the next task at hand! – we all go with the motivation of the huge party that awaits our return and knowing that at the end of the week, we will have officially ended what has been a massive part of our lives, a challenge which has spanned over 14 months and we can definitely drink to that! – and then get a decent nights sleep.

Peace out! Jess and Harvey


  1. Hi Jess and Everyone
    Yes I can imagine it would be quite an eye opener meeting people with aids and realising the implications of this devastating yet preventable disease.Treatment though is providing some hope
    So good luck on the last careful, thoughtful, listen to your body and look after each other
    Lotsa love Mum

  2. Hey Harvey – glad to see the drama role play is strong over there. Disappointing about the tug of war though – that was the land training you missed! Scorching temps in Sydney today. Fire up for the last leg.

  3. Have loved reading about your time with the 3 organizations…I feel motivated FOR you to climb Kili! I hope you all enjoy the last days of climbing together and fully digest your accomplishments.

    Have fun and looking forward to the updates!

  4. Sarah,
    If by chance you are somehow running out of those stories that you are amusing everyone with (which I highly doubt!!) I thought I would help with a few that you could tell…
    How about some Woodstock ones (aka Kid Rock, the Prison or Body Lotion), Quad Runs, or how about taking your life into your own hands by allowing ME to drive us to Jones Beach on many occasions, or how about…. drum role please, the fact (we hope) you will be going to another NKOTB concert in June!! SURPRISE!!!
    Can’t wait to see you!!
    We MISS our Tuesday nights!!

  5. Ladies, you are simply the Best! We are truly enjoying reading about your journey. Be strong as you face the final challenge. We are sending lots of positive energy your way!

    LeeKei, Patrick, Brady, and Dean

  6. It’s been a delight reminiscing and reliving the experience vicariously through your blog reports. I hope kili is everything you imagine and more. Best of luck girls! Wishing you all great success, good health and happiness. Smiles, Luce

  7. This is a small message for Sarah Papsun:
    Sarah we have been hearing about your wonderful adventures through your mom at Silvermine School. All of the Nields, Courtney, Ben, Annie, Ben, and Chris want to wish you and your entire crew the very best as you climb Kilimanjaro! Way to go ladies!

  8. Halfie I have loved reading the stories of your adventures. I look forward to an evening or tow when we have a welcome home party to hearing lots more. Bu the way do you realise that as you come DOWN the Mt you will also be coming down a phase in your life. I think that you will be 30years OLD the day you land back on non-mountainous ground!! Thought that would cheer you up and help you on this last stage of your adventure. Much love Mother Dear and the rest of your siblings.

  9. Hi HARVEY AND THE TEAM, Wow, you guys have been so busy! I am a little nervous for you….! You have set yourselves a huge challenge, and it must be so daunting! We are thinking of you as you begin this journey! And wish you all the best! Enjoy the last few days of your 20’s!! I reckon you’ll remember for the REST of your life the exact place you were at when you turned 30! I hope all the team give you either some birthday punches…or hugs!!


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