Monday, 9 December 2019

Pack for a Purpose - Stella Maris Primary School, Tanzania

Stella Maris Primary School, Mailisita, Tanzania.

I'd always been conscious of economic challenges and lack of funding and supplies in developing countries ever since I began independently travelling at 23. During my time studying Geography at university in England, I had the opportunity to partake in a field trip to The Gambia, West Africa. As a class, we collectively brought copious supplies for a local school we would visit and during a 5-month stint on a gap year in Ghana, I collected and shipped tennis equipment to aid a sports project wishing to get more Ghanaian youths playing tennis. In future travels to Cambodia, I prepared educational donations in my luggage along with clothing that would just have been discarded and unused back in the UK, knowing that they would be much appreciated and made better use of by the Cambodian people. I feel if I am going to take the experience of a country away with me then if I am in a position to give back to the country and community I will through giving my time or by donations of supplies.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Kilimanjaro 2019 Challenge : In The Press....

Jambo, Jambo!

Sutton Guardian article 5th December, 2019

I've been recovering from a nasty cold I picked up during my trip back to Africa to climb the mighty Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The altitude, sleep deprivation and stress that my body was under in the cold and wet conditions practically comatosed me for a fair few days. I'm told your body could take several weeks to realign its chemical balance and red blood cell count after ascending at extreme altitude like Kilimanjaro. However, in my period of convalescencing over the last month since I returned from Africa - I've managed to get some nice press and media coverage in London and the UK about my Kilimanjaro expedition to 'The Roof of Africa' and raising awareness of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E) a chronic neurological condition that my twin sister has suffered from for over ten years.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

9. Kilimanjaro 2019 Challenge: Lemosho Route - The Descent, Sunburn and Asante Sana Kilimanjaro!

Jambo Jambo! 

I AM VICTORIOUS AND HAVE CONQUERED THE MIGHTY KILIMANJARO!!!! If you hadn't read my last blog, shame on you that was the best part! (only joking) but if you had (and thank you for reading it) you are aware of the gruelling experience I had in the longest night of my life scaling the steep volcanic slope of Kibo through altitude sickness, the sheer exhaustion of lack of sleep and the oppressive power of the mountain. 

But I did it and felt on top of the world walking on air (which isn't actually that far from the truth!) but mission accomplished and knew I would be going home a summiter!

But what goes up, inevitably has to come down, including us! and the experience of descending for our whole team would be a whole new adventure in its self - and one that potentially could be life threatening when you're up in the monstrous maw of Kilimanjaro. We now had to get down. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

8. Kilimanjaro 2019 Challenge: Lemosho Route - Day Seven - Summit Night....My Story

'It always seems impossible until its done.'

                                                              - Nelson Mandela 

'Arnold, Jambo Arnold!' I call out lightly into the strangely still night. I was sticking my head out of my (again frozen annex) and was overjoyed to look up to the abyss of a blank deep purple sky speckled with the glint of little stars. What good luck after two days of torrential rain, it was clear!  

Arnold, one of our great cooks, appeared away from the annex of another glowing tent, lit up like a firefly in his bouncing headtorch as he came over to my tent, holding a roll of cling film. It was just after 10pm and everyone was rousing after getting absolutely no sleep.  

'This one first' he tells me, gesturing for me to sit back and stretch out my right foot swathed in three pairs of socks. He struggles to find the end of the roll, picking at it and pulling pieces off until he's happy to start wrapping the sheet of cling film around my feet a few times. 'You feel the warmth? Will keep you dry' he says, proceeding to wrap my other foot until they both looked like roasting chicken drumsticks.

Despite sharing ideas, our boots were still remained soaking wet and this was our guides brilliant plan to stop our feet developing frostbite in the sub zero temperatures.....

Ain't no mountain high enough!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

7. Kilimanjaro 2019 Challenge : Lemosho Route - Day Six - Karanga Camp to Barafu Base Camp 4,673m

Jambo Jambo!

Welcome back to my Kilimanjaro blog as I battle up the highest mountain in Africa for charity 'Action for M.E'. If you've been keeping up with each day of my journey Asante Sana for your time and interest - I'd made it onto Day Six coming to the latter part of the ascent pushing through the challenges of AMS, bad luck with the relentless adverse wet weather and sleep deprivation. Things were going to get more difficult and testing for us all in our attempt to conquer the summit of Kilimanjaro, but I knew I had the self motivated resilience and dogged determination from all my support to endure the further hardships that lay ahead....question was, was I going to be stopped?
At this point on the Lemosho Route at Karanga Camp, we had slowly travelled 45km (28 miles) over six days (with rain every one of those days) and would be pushing on another 4km further up the alpine desert and southern slopes of Kibo to Barafu Base Camp - gateway to the summit.    

Me and my tent porter Richard, in flip flops! - always making sure it was up for my arrival to camp

Thursday, 7 November 2019

6. Kilimanjaro 2019 Challenge: Lemosho Route - Day Five - The Great Barranco Wall to Karanga Camp 3995m

Jambo Jambo!

Good news! I made it to Day Five along the Lemosho Route on my Kilimanjaro Challenge, after a tough Day Four falling victim to AMS I was so grateful to have awoken the next day with a clear head, being knocked out from the double dosing of painkillers and had recovered from the blinding headache to continue my attempt up Kilimanjaro. Thank God!  

Recovered and still alive! In front of the backdrop of Kibo's southern face

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

5. Kilimanjaro 2019 Challenge: Lemosho Route - Day Four - Moir Hut to Lava Tower and down to Barranco Camp 4,600m

Jambo Jambo!

Thanks for sticking with me up to Day Four of my Kilimanjaro Challenge along the Lemosho Route. We had now from the start travelled 28km up 1,950 metres and made it to Moir Hut at 4,200 metres amsl and aside from the dose of nausea and the occasional pang of a light headache I made a habit of sniffing peppermint oil and was okay to press on. 

But Day Four was going to be our toughest day so far physically and mentally, as we would be following the golden rule of 'walk high, sleep low' passing up to 4,600 metres at the Lava Tower and then dropping down to Barranco camp at 3,950 metres to sleep, where the real signs of any altitude would come into affect - it is 'part of the game' our guides would tell us. A tough game to play in the undulating highs and lows of the Kilimanjaro experience.    

We had awoken again in the frost to beautiful clear skies a little after 6am to see the spectacular view of the Arrow Glacier and the sun peeking over the western face of the peaks, reassuring us we were getting closer!. There is a vitality of energy among the porters at the camps so you can't help but wake up early in the hub bub of the camp break downs. It was actually the first time we were in the mess tent having breakfast and were far too hot! Members of my team attempted to unzip all the openings and roll up the windows of our tent to air ourselves out - but the porters eventually just lifted the tent up and moved it off us to enjoy breakfast in the rising sunshine!

I was still feeling a little nauseous but not to the extent I had been, but I had an impending awareness that this leg may bring on the obstacle of genuine signs of altitude sickness on our journey and would just have to wait and see whether it was going to hit me. I was still strictly keeping to my advice plan of taking Diamox, drinking 3 litres a day, going 'pole pole' and even breathing through my nose more!