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.
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.
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.
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.
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