Mt. Kilimanjaro!!!

Day 1.

The first morning I felt surprisingly calm, I was excited of course, but very little in terms of anxiety about the upcoming climb. We got ready, showered, attempting to be as clean as possible before 5 full days of being gross, and waited to be picked up. When we got to the gate (Machame route) it was full of tourists, not surprising, but haven’t seen that many white people in one place in quite a while. It was pretty funny watching all the locals selling them kili hats, shirts, water bottles, etc at about three times what they should be paying. It’s funny how easily you get used to bargaining after living here for only a few months. The first few miles were easy, uphill rescue road type trail, all of us in good spirits. We stopped for lunch at an outcropping in the forest, which looked like it could easily be in the Pacific Northwest. After lunch we started the harder climb where we actually started to gain altitude. I felt really good so went ahead with one of the guides while Genny, Julien , and Winn stayed back at a slower pace. After about four hours of hiking we hit our first camp (Machame Hut-3,000 Meters). Throughout the day it was pretty hot so just hiking in a tee-shirt, but once the sun went down it got really cold really quickly. Our tents luckily stayed fairly warm, and they provided constant hot water for tea. The food was surprisingly good, probably better than at CCS, which is confusing since it’s on a mountain… But the hot soup was incredible, maybe we were just tired. Overall, the first day was an easy 6 hour intro.

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Last Week in Moshi

This week will be the last we’re staying (and working) with CCS. On Sunday we start our climb on Kili, then back for a day before heading to Dar and then Egypt.
Last week at work was more laid back, ended up giving tours to a few medical and nursing students from Sweden and Germany that we met at the coffee shop (where we spend every morning, and many afternoons). But generally, more of the same. This week we’ll be saying goodbye to everyone we work with, we’ve become close to the women at the pharmacy and one of the doctors (ironically, not the doctor we were supposed to be spending time with). People keep asking what we got out of working there, and in return what the hospital has gained. We’ve found it difficult to answer. In terms of short term we have been able to help out a great deal, but in terms of long term sustainable aide, we’ve been essentially useless. But, whatever we can offer them is at least…something. What have I gotten out of it? Aside from knowing that clinically, I am not inclined, it has been extremely interesting to view such a drastically different form of medical care. Disturbing and upsetting at times, but overall interesting. Through the chaos how much they could accomplish was actually better than expected. However, for conditions to improve large governmental changes must happen, which as in most of Africa, slow coming. More on this topic later, I’m sure.

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Week Two

As per Alex’s request for the baboon story…On the second day of Safari we stopped for lunch at a campsite in Tarangire National Park. There was an overlook facing the park, so we took our boxed lunches to the ledge. Then a baboon literally ran up and stole half my lunch from the box and ran away. scared me so much, but it was pretty funny.
Other than that, everyone is still sick, so far so good but everytime my throat hurts a little or I have a headache I’m convinced I have Malaria. I’m sure I’ll be fine, hopefully won’t get sick at all!

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