I am frustrated by how I lack the words to convey even a fraction of the emotions I experienced on this trip. The height of Kilimanjaro, the thin air on Uhuru Peak, the vastness of the savanna, and the simple joys of the people are something that one has to experience for him/herself. I hope you get a glimpse of the experience from my trip journal below.
Over a year ago, I signed up with the Alzheimer Society of BC for the Ascent event, thinking this will be a great adventure. The event required me to raise money for the Society, and to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Against his tendency to stay close to home, Cliff decided to sign up as well. I am so proud of how hard and determined he worked to raise the money.
This climb is to honor my grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four months before the climb.
When I stepped in front of the open door of the aircraft, I was hit with a wave of warm and humid air that soothed my lungs. I grew up in a place with humid air, therefore it always comforts me to breathe it. I took a few deep breaths, drinking in the moisture in the air.
It was already dark in Kilimanjaro when we arrived. All the Alzheimer Ascent team members piled into a small van and headed for the hotel we were staying at.
There are no street lights, and the road is dusty and bumpy. I looked out the window of the van and saw corn fields lining the road we were on. I tried to tune out the cheerful chatters amongst the teammates. I selfishly wanted a moment of quietness to take it all in. I have dreamed of coming to this continent for so long, it was surreal to actually be here.
As I lay in bed that night, thoughts were racing through my mind as I listened to the heavy rain that just began to fall. What am I to expect of Africa? Will I reach the summit of Kilimanjaro? Was all the training enough? Is this real that I am finally here?