Flying with the crows
_19th September: Flying with the Crows
Last night Jess fed me an Ibruprofen as a precautionary measure. Throughout the night another headache threatened, but I sipped water when it did. By morning I had a mild discomfort in my head but nothing to whinge about. Nose bled as usual and would bleed every night on the expedition, continuing for a week more after arriving back in the UK. But the system was recovering from the vile night it had two nights ago, and was able to fuel up at breakfast.

Before heading off Anne fed me my daily dose of a homeopathic sugar lump to keep me sweet :-)  and as I got my gear together, Sakimba pulled me to the side and placed a bracelet on my wrist.

Sakimba: "This is for power for the rest of your journey"

With the care I was receiving from all teams, I would be able to fly up the mountain.

The teams appeared to be in harmony today and there seemed to be an air of excitement from both our  porters and us. For a change we were all packed and ready to go. For the past number of days, they have had to hang around for us to get out of our tents. Sakimba at the ready, decided he would look after Amani as the route to Third Cave Camp would be rocky. Barriers had been broken and our peace mission was now a total team mission. Porters were now calling for Amani and Pendu (peace and love) as we climbed up the mountain.

From Buffalo Camp we climbed up to the top of 'Buffalo Ridge' and crossed numberous ribs and gullies. I attempted to film James helping Jackie as he carried her down potentially tretcherous rocky slopes. Her ankle had not worsened and seemed to improve slowly as the trip went on, however James appeared to enjoy giving her a helping hand and being her personal guide.

The trail continued eastwards and led us through a landscape that had increasingly sparse vegetation to eventually reach Third Cave Camp (4100 m)

Sakimba relaxing after sorting out his blister
As we approached the camp site, our team of porters seemed truely happy to see us. They welcomed us and helped us unload our day packs to our tent home, despite having carried our tents, bags and food AND had to do an additional 5km down the mountain to bring plenty of water up to our camp site as the water well at the site was dry.

Sakimba sat in a cave washing his foot due to a blister. Both Jess and I tended to him providing him tape and blister pads. Though a porter, Sakimba integrated with us much more so than any of the other porters.

Our tent homes
_The porters were part of our team and felt like servants. One of the porters would later tell me that the porters were not supposed to talk to us unless spoken to, so last night was a break through towards integration and relaxing those boundaries to allow more interaction between "porters" and "clients".

After a quick aclimitisation walk up a couple of hundred metres, I decided to run back to camp disregarding the teams concern about the potentially ankle breaking ground. I wanted to fly like a bird. Jess and Uncle Pete decided to follow in pursuit. It was fantastic to allow the legs to run.

Before dinner, a team of porters joined us to read peace messages, as well as deliver their own heartfelt peace messages that they wanted the world to hear. One message was clear: "We want peace and we want to be treated with respect and equality".

The porters earn $5 USD a day plus tips and rarely have the chance to integrate with clients due to this unspoken rule about not talking to clients unless spoken to. But right from the start our team interacted with the porters with Jess and myself teaching our team "Mamjambazi" and "Poa" - street words we learnt from the market trip we had with Eddie back in Arusha. Today the porters changed the calls to Peace and Love or as they say in swahilli Amani and Pendo.

After dinner, the team felt that as I was feeling better, that I should sing them a good night song. Of course since we were camping out under a million stars there was only one that could be sung.
And so we rocked the camp to sleep!

Today perhaps we were all high on sniffing altitude, but tomorrow a jealous rift would occur amongst some of the porters and the guides.....and only holding onto the thoughts of Amani would help the entire team carry on.


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