The climb up Meru is steep and strenuous; it can hardly be considered the mini peak in the middle of the challenge. For many, this will be the hardest climb. Day one is exposed to the sun, and with January being the hottest year, it is easy to become dehydrated. Day two is comprised of stairs…and more stairs…and endless stairs. After a half night’s sleep on day 2 they will push to the summit and then climb all the way down for a last night’s sleep on the mountain. In just 4 days, they will be back at base camp.
Mount Meru is a gem, as iconic for Tanzania as Kilimanjaro is for Africa. The forests boast singing turacos and blue monkeys. They are full of life and give shade for parts of the climb. Views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Oldoinyo Lengai and the rift valley are priceless.
11 “little women” from St Jude joined the team on the first day up the mountain. Chosen for their good grades and excellent dedication in the classroom, the girls were ecstatic to learn they would join the team. Since finding out, they have used their PE time in the afternoon to train for the day’s hike and surprised the team with songs and dance they had been practicing to “inspire the team to make it to the top.”
They shared school stories and explained their lives back home. With smiles cheek to cheek, there was no telling that all of these girls come from impoverished backgrounds and situations that would make most of us uneasy to even hear about. They laughed, held hands and even helped to carry some of the team’s bags…a luxury the team had to give up after lunch as the two groups parted– the St Jude’s girls descended and the team to carried on climbing.
Watch a video about our visit with the School of St Jude.
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Posted by Laura