We were allowed to sleep in today which meant getting woken up at 6:30am versus the usual 6am. As usual, Amos who I found out recently was really not THE chef but our butler of sorts (?), makes his rounds to wake us up , then he comes around again this time with tea and coffee and the finally with warm water for a wash up . We woke up feeling much better than we did yesterday, No one complaining of having a headache or nausea and this made me extremely happy and hopeful ! Having our health intact is a reminder that we at times don’t truly know what we have till we loose it.
All these gestures from Amos is so warming especially so early in the morning with a challenging hike ahead of us . Today we go up the Baranco wall which already looked ridiculously intimidating from afar . Up close , it’s this maze of rocks demanding precision and strength to follow the guides and hold up to the rocks for safety. Below us is a cloud covered waterfall and stream from the glacier ice melt. There are scary moments, including a spot called the kissing rock , named as such because one needs to get as close as a kiss to get through its narrow passage while hoping to not fall down some water fall to serious injury or to ones death. Well we all made it! We all missed the kissing rock” precisely enough to safely cross the path as one of our guides happen to capture moments like this on video. Infact the kids are doing so well it’s almost incredible. They lead the way as usual , all lined up in birth order and each one looks strong with good positive energy. I smile proudly as I watch them from behind, I also reflect on the blessings each of them are to myself and DH. Adaeze is steady in her feet and engages in conversation with her siblings literally the entire duration of the hike. We have to remind them to save their oxygen and not waste it on speaking instead to concentrate on breathing in and out through their noses. Our senior guide specifically says in his Tanzania accented English , which we by the way, comprehend majority of the time….. “ When you talk you breathe with your mouth, so right now, we’re going to save the conversation until later ok?”. He has a very gently but firm way about him and the kids listen easily to him. Thankfully.
We get through the Baranco wall apparently in very good timing , passing many on the way, I guess all that monkeying around our home , including having a “silk” installed right in our kitchen to practice Aerial or basically free for all climbs is paying off with climb today. All our guides cheer us on and congratulate us well upon reaching karenga camp, no headaches no nausea … very good news so far.
We had more time at the Karenga camp and the kids played literally all day chasing ravens and climbing rocks on the campsite. I considered a nap but ended up chatting with Alex who spontaneously came into our tent while the others played, he told me many stories as usual, this time most of them from the “ Action Bible” he has been reading, a gift from Uncle Alan his god father . He appeared astonished that I recalled some of the names like Melkezanel or Cain and Abel, and would say “ wow you really know your bible!”. I just smiled a lucky smile😉
We lay talking while I asked his permission to use his storytelling as a “ bedtime story” because I was afraid of falling asleep on his stories without permission and risking appearing disinterested in his stories . Alex easily granted me permission. Truthfully with his love of chitchat, it’s no surprise he barely noticed when I dozed off.
I was woken up again by the chef announcing it was close to dinner time . DH spent the time outside the tents watching the rest of the kids at play till dinner time .
First we had to do a medical check by our senior guide , we all passed thankfully and then he informed me that he had been negotiating with our youngest Amara about eating more, as she had started to be more picky with her foods. Amara had stated during her medical check up that she was “ used to different foods” than the ones she was served here, which by the were all so delicious! I have never tasted so many different soups in my life as I had this week . Let’s just say there may be pressure from some of the kids for me to make more soups once we get home lol
Bottom line, Amara and our senior guide agreed that she would eat more IF her mommy could make her pancake they way she makes at home. So there you have it . The main chef TiTo grants me permit to enter his tent kitchen and provided me with requested ingredients to prepare our “ homemade pancakes” from scratch . Both Adaeze and Amara offer to help out with tasks like mixing ingredients or cracking the eggs while the kitchen is surrounded by various men mostly “Porters” watching me cook while DH gets a video recording of all this. I joke that I’ve never had this many men as audience in my kitchen, I also secretly crossed my fingers the pancakes turned out perfect given some improvised ingredients. Pancakes was a hit! The kids all loved it, especially Moo baby. Even made some to taste for the helpers and they too agreed -mission accomplished!
Before we went to dinner we enjoyed some local singing chants out in the campsite, everyone happy and energetic and the guests dance along or recorded the event on their videos. We got to talk with some other climbers for the US including one who says she decided to come along on the trip 5 days before !!! She is doing well according to her with the exception of one crying breakdown. To which I say “Hey if that’s all you got for scrapes then you are champion in my book!”
We later went to dinner where my pancakes were part of the four course meals along a very delicious corn soup, rice and beef stew. I’m not very hungry but I force myself to eat because as they say “ you need energy to kill Kilimanjaro so it won’t kill you”.
For that same reason, we bargained and bribed and coerced our kids to finish their meals, ultimately we all shoved energy spoonfullwise into our mouths! Fullstop.
Tomorrow requires early wake up time so we are all laying in our tent now, I’m journaling these thought down before I get to sleep. Overall a wonderful day,however I did have mixed emotions earlier today while on the Baranco wall. DH seems to be in his element on the mountain, he is physically crushing it, I on the other hand hear my panting from time to time, his mind is tuned into a particular plane where he is mostly organizational , goal oriented and practical , he gets like this when there’s a major detail at hand like travel or in this case survival of his family. Unfortunately, this “doing math mode” as I sometimes tease him , does not easily create space for intimacy . I on the otherhand could skip this math class any day to revel in connection and intimacy. I also know that he does not choose this mode without some leavening neccessity. If you can imagine that he is the point person for keeping track of all our mountainous gear like hand and toe warmers, iodine tablets for water purification, more gatorade ,packing bags to make sure everything that is supposed to be there is there at the end of the day, etc etc and ofcourse there the big nerve of bringing your whole family to hike Kilimanjaro for “the experience “ and the huge task of retuning them down safe and sound, so I get it and I feel similar pressure.
However existing in these two differing planes has a potential to create a disconnect . I mean we are already sleeping in sleeping bags in two different tents for a whole week and that can be rough. So to manage all this, I decide to become “practical “ myself which typically means saying less and trying to focus my eye on the goal…get to summit Kilimanjaro successfully with DH and the kids and get down safely to a warm shower eventually and some more relaxing fun on the safari and then in South Africa with more family fun.
DH kisses me goodnight and held on a little longer, I’m not exactly sure if he senses our different planes but neither of us think this is a good time to go exploring these emotions so I return his kiss and say goodnight.