With my team's positive mental attitude spurring me on to feel better, I finally had a better night's sleep, with only one nature wake up call. To kill off the mild headache I still had, Jess fed me an ibrupofen and Anne fed me a homeopathic sugar lump called China to help with rehydration. I also implemented my new rehydration strategy to drink at least 1 litre of fluid in the morning before setting out, drink moderately in the afternoon and only to sip small amounts during the night.
@07:30am: Aunty Tess' excited voice filled the camp site as she received news from her son that she was now a grandmother for the third time. As we set out, our Massai warrior, Sakimba, quickly climbed to the highest peak in the near vicinity of @ 400 metres above our camp to shout words of joy to the Gods for the birth of Aunty Tess' new grand-daughter.
Freddy did a quick check on my health, and I suggested maybe I was about 80% better as I still had a mild headache that was clearing. He suggested that my bag be carried by one of the guides, which I stubbornly refused. I wanted to reserve that offer for only if I were weak and dying!
Me: "When would it be okay for me to tyre drag cause I feel okay?"
Freddy: "When you can say you feel 120% better"
With such perfect terrain, I could not help but long to drag Amani. I was sure he was whispering to me that he wanted a change of scenery from Sakimba's guardianship. I would just have to persuade Freddy that I was good to go. It would only be a matter of time when my head would feel as clear as the sunny day and my energy levels would be fully restored. After all Anne had also given me a sip of holy water before setting out. How could I not feel great today?
Asking enough and showing that I could keep up with the group, was enough persuasion for Freddy. By 10:00am I was happily dragging Amani and he also was easy to drag unlike the previous days when he got stuck on jagged rocks and jutting roots. The conditions were so perfect, I had to run down a hill with mad enthusiasm. For a bit of fun, Amani wanted to behave like a tyre and jumped onto his side to partially roll down the hill, before landing upside down with laughter. Uncle Pete, concerned for the peace cannisters that were in Amani, told me off for being so callous but the team were happy at seeing a new lease of life in me.
As is typical with my soul sister Tess (we have a knack of being quite similar!), she soon also longed to take over dragging and asked to take over. I promised that she could have him after an hour. I just needed Amani long enough to do a work out but short enough not to concern my team mates. After a number of hills, we changed over and had a short tense moment when it was thought that the peace cannisters had somehow fallen out of the tyre perhaps when Amani rolled down the hill. I briefly felt guilty but could not believe that could have happened as Uncle Pete would have ensured that nothing but his iron grip would have loosened those cannisters. Thankfully, that was correct and Aunty Tess laughed about having a "senior moment".
And now for a musical interlude whilst you read the next part.
After approximately 4-5 hours from Shira Camp site, we arrived all together at Lava Tower camp site. An impressive camp site nestled on a ridge and my favourite camp site of the trip. There would be no other expedition teams that would be able to join us.
I went into the mess hut to find everyone slumped on chairs. Aunty Tess wanted to read peace messages in the interim before dinner. However it was time to get the "We" and "Them" together.
Me: "Hey all, this is a beautiful spot and a perfect day to read peace messages outside. How about we ask our team of porters and guides to join us outside?"
I was met with an indifference. My team mates were looking tired and lethargic and some looked ready for a short afternoon kip. But today was a day of change when we would behave more like a team. After a little more persuasion, Aunty Tess agreed. So I ran out of the tent to find Freddy and Felix to ask them to round up the troops. 41 porters and guides quickly came out, even though they too must have been tired from having heaved all our equipment and food up to the camp site. The air was filled with anticipatory excitement about the crazy clients and their "mission"!
Freddy: "So where is your team?"
Me: "Err they are getting the peace messages ready and dividing them so they can be distributed"
My team did not fail me and were soon out distributing paper with sets of messages to the waiting crowd.
As Aunty Tess, lit the peace flame, Mary and I attempted a rendition of "Make me a Channel of Your Peace" and managed to get the rest of the troops to join in. (Thank you Sharon D (TG2) for this message). A thinly veiled mist descended upon us, temporarily dimming the light, and further adding a little more atmospheric magic. We were now a team of peace messengers reading messages of love and peace from thousands that had emailed us their thoughts, concerns and prayers.
Today was a turning point and there was renewed energy not just within our team, but also within the team of porters and guides that were with us. At the end of the readings, the mist and clouds cleared to reveal a magnificent mountain scenery and the sun came out to smile on us. The team of porters and guides ended the session with their theme song...
"Jambo – Jambo Bwana, Habari Gani?? Nzuri Sana, wageni mnakaribiswa, Kilimanjaro hakuna matata…boom boom…" and Uncle Pete went off dancing into the distance with Freddy!
That night, Freddy came into our mess hut to announce his appreciation and confirmed the renewed vigor his team had as well as encouraged us. To end the night we were treated to the distant city lights of Kenya under a wondrous clear starlit night.
Tomorrow we would have to walk for about 8 hours, and the team were determined that tomorrow we would start out on time as we had a habit of starting at least 1/2 an hour later with porters waiting for us to get out of our tents!
Next write up to be hopefully completed by the end of the weekend!