An Adventure in Africa

Stephanie TStarred Page By Stephanie T, 8th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/8k6uh3mg/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Africa>Tanzania>Arusha & Around

My time spent in Tanzania was one to remember, it has been six years since I went, I was 17 and I can honestly say that it has influenced me more than I could of imagined.

Six Years and Still...

It has been six years since I embarked on an adventure that would affect my life more than I could imagine. I was 17 years old, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I was older, and I still don't, but what I did know was that I wanted to do something that would affect someones life as well as my own.
I did contemplate writing about the trip years ago, however I decided against it, I tought it would be better for me to wait, to look back on my time there now being a bit older, to see if my views, opinions and feelings had changed, or if I would fully understand and appreciate it more.
My feelings are still the same, I still feel extremely connected to Tanzania, and the one thing I would say is that I believe it would benefit schools to learn about life over there, a link between schools would be great for both sides.

The First Leg

Two weeks were spent helping schools in a village called Moshi, building a football and vollay ball pitch for the local community, painting classrooms and assisting with teaching.
We arrived at the school were we would be staying, it was beautiful. There weren't any amazing desks or beds, it was very simple and stripped back but you could really sense the spirit of the school.
We were taken to our rooms where we were to stay for the duration of our time in Moshi. Our beds were rusty metal bed frames with a very thin mattress, very different from what we were used to but that was all we needed.
I am not one for spiders... at all, so I made sure that my mosquito net was securely folded under my mattress every day all day. I remember one night my friend who I shared the room with, and myself heard scratching, it was a cockroach. She frantically dove into her bag and bought out a monster can of insect spray. She started spraying, and spraying, and spraying, until the can was empty.
We woke up in the morning, throats a bit sore and a tad light headed, and as I went to get out of bed my friend shouted at me, telling me not to and to look on the floor. There were about twenty cockroaches there, dead from the spray, I don't think my net could have been anymore secure after that.
The two weeks went by very fast, too fast infact, I got very attatched to the people there, to the children and to the culture. They had so much, they may have not had money, but that was irrelevant. It was obvious to me that I would never look at 'things' in the same way, that they are not important in the grand scheme of things, and although it is hard living in a country where luxury is fashion, you can still appreciate life and not get attached to material possessions.

The two weeks were over, we had built a football and volleyball pitch, painted classrooms, played with the children, and helped teach them.
After a tearfull goodbye we embarked on a safari across the Serengeti.

The Special Serengeti

The safari was unreal, the landscape, the animals in the wild, it was ever so peaceful yet adventurous at the same time. We crossed the Serengeti camping along the way, obviously not in the prime lion hotspots. To me this was the life, living in the wild. The Serengeti is where you can see the shear beauty of the land, looking into the mountains and witnessing giraffes making their way to the top, utterly magical.

The Safari was coming to an end and at this point at the forefront of my mind, the climb. Mount Kilimajaro was just days away, and although I prepared for it, mentally it was quite overwhelming for me. As a group we would talk about it around the camp fire, which route we were taking, about the mountain itself, and I remember our group leader telling us that everyone will cry because that mountain completely strips you bare and brings up all your emotions.

The Climb

The day had arrived, we were there looking up at this great labyrinth of a mountain ready to take our first steps. When it is the first mountain you have ever climbed, the steepness can be quite shocking. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting a gentle slope at all, however this was like climbing a wall at some points.
For the first hour it was extremelly hard, it was a case of trying to think of anything that would distract you from climbing. The silence was very prominent in our group, it was as if the mountain was testing us to see if we could make the first section, testing our strength. After the first test, mentally and physically it was as if we had got into a rhythm with the mountain. At this point I thought that if I kept going I would make it.
After 3 hours or so it was time for lunch, so we stopped to eat. The mountain was beautiful, the views were stunning and for a few moments your mind is just still, as if time has stopped. It is hard to explain, it is as if the mountain has a heart, it is alive and draws the emotion out.

We carried on up the mountain and I started going down hill quickly. I was being sick constantly and mentally it hit me very hard, I didn't want to give up. The tears that our group leader said would come, did, and they didn't stop for a while, but I kept on going until we reached our first base camp which was half way up Kilimanjaro.

I got changed into fresh clothes and wrapped up as I started to get very cold, however the cold did not stop for me. It got to the point where I had to wear our leaders jacket which was for the very top of the mountain, where it reaches 5,895 metres and is extremelly cold. It was at this point I knew I wouldn't make it, they were just waiting for me to confirm that I wanted to go back down. I didn't want to, but I knew I had to because I wouldn't be able to stand the cold and I would just get iller.
The night was cold, and I woke up anxious about the journey down. There were tearful goodbyes as I left and on my way back down I wanted to go back. Reaching the top would have been amazing but my own adventure was pretty amazing, and I recall thinking on my way down that maybe the mountain didn't want me to reach the top yet, it just wasn't ready or me.

Looking Back

My time spent in Tanzania was physically and emotionally draining and although I didn't make to the top it was still one hell of an adventure, and it is more important to try, to take that trip, or to experience something different. For me, making it to the top was not my aim, it would have been an accomplishment but it was more important to experience all that I could, to feel like I'm doing something. I wanted to make a connection with the people, the culture, learn something about myself, and even suprise myself.
I would love to go back and help again, maybe the mountain will be ready for me then.

Tags

Adventure, Camping, Hiking, Life Changing, Mount Kilimajaro, Mountain Trek, Tanzania

Meet the author

author avatar Stephanie T
I love to be creative by singing, acting, painting, making head pieces, swimming and writing. I love travelling and could do it forever. When I was younger I wanted to be a mermaid, and I still do. I love adventures, life should be one.

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Comments

author avatar Badearke
9th Feb 2011 (#)

Great article, beautifully written

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author avatar Stephanie T
12th Feb 2011 (#)

Thank you very much, I am a follower of yours :)

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author avatar Tranquilpen
11th Feb 2011 (#)

Thank you Stephanie T

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author avatar Stephanie T
12th Feb 2011 (#)

Hello,
Thank you very much :)

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author avatar Stephanie T
13th Feb 2011 (#)

Hello,

Thank you very much for your comment :)

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author avatar Denise O
16th Feb 2011 (#)

Sounds like a lovely trip. Good for you and the others for taking the time to give back. I enjoyed the read and I look forward to more, as I have run out of your pages. Ya got me hooked young lady.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Stephanie T
19th Feb 2011 (#)

Hello again, it was amazing, would love to go back, thank you, I shall keep on at the writing :)

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author avatar Martin King
16th Feb 2011 (#)

I am jealous sounds a lovely trip thanks for sharing

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author avatar Stephanie T
19th Feb 2011 (#)

Thanks Martin :)

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