Luckily we managed to catch a fantastic cup of tea in the restaurant at the hotel. We then organised all our trekking gear and lay it out on the bed so that our guides could inspect it.
We had a meeting with them at around 1.30 in which we were introduced to Patrick, Dawus and Mahmoud, our guides. Our organiser Jackson held the briefing in which he told us just general stuff about the climb, what will be provided etc. The best thing I learnt was that the huts will have powerpoints. My blog might be saved!!
Mahmoud did our inspection. What a nice guy. He climbs Kili twice a month on average but others like Patrick climb more often. Our gear inspection went great. Mahmoud went through all of it and said "my god you are well prepared... You are ready to kill the Kili!"
Immediately after this. Me and Harune went to the MEM office where we finally met Mohammed O. Shabhay. He is an absolutely amazing chap. So warm hearted. We went to sort out our safari arrangements and Ishtiaq and Nasser joined us as they were also interested. However, they couldn't change their itinerary on flights. We however got our safari so that we drive out the same day we come off the mountain and also spend time in lodges. This way we get more game driving and we stay in better accommodation. Fantastic.
Tahseen and Adnaan had arranged something very special for the afternoon. A visit to an orphanage.
We were supposed to meet up at 4pm but with the ridiculously slow service at the hotel restaurant, this got pushed to 5pm... We did order beef steak for lunch! We all set of and drove through some really run down areas till we reached what seemed like an educational compound. It was all well laid out inside with trees, gardens and play areas. We met Sulaiman the head of the orphanage who lead us to a group of girls sitting ouside one of the buildings. We sat down on some benches they set out for us.
We looked at them and they looked at us.
Adnaan who is experienced at visiting orphanages broke the ice. He gave them all salaam then asked various questions like 'do you all like it here?' and 'can anyone recite some Quran for us?' and toyed with them as to reciting long and short verses of the Quran. Then one of the girls started reciting in the most beautiful of voices. We were in awe. Then they sang some nasheeds in english, Arabic and Swahili!
We then went for a tour around the various buildings. On our way back, we spotted some girls playing skipping. The type with two girls swinging the rope and one jumping. We egged each other to go and join in. Eventually we all walked up and asked to join in. Ray was first up. It looked promising but all went tits up when he failed epically and didn't make one jump. Harune was up next and seriously dropped the gauntlet by making something like 50 jumps in a row! Safia was up next and did pretty well too. Then it was my turn. I missed on or two and it was looking pretty bad but then I made it... I was jumping the rope, it didn't last long but long enough for me to keep my credibility. We then decided to teach the a playground game... The hand clapping one. They took to it really well and it was great for bonding with the kids.
By this time, the rest of the group came back and joined in the fun. We gathered all the kids and took pictures. We then went to the car and bought out some books, pens, rice and stuff that we bought for the orphans. They took to the pens particularly well!
Finally we departed from the orphanage and most of us were quite emotional as we had learnt much from the trip. It really bought home the essence of what we were doing the trek for.
We got back freshened up and then went to get some food at the restaurant. All I have to say is that the service in Tanzania is exceptionally slow. But it's something beyond comprehension. We waited over one hour for our food which they cooked from scratch ( one steak for Harune and three spicy chicken wings for Sab, Ray and me) but when the food finally came out, it was cold. How does that happen?? it seemed as if they made the food after 40 minutes and then left it for 20 minutes before serving it.
The restaurant closes at 9 but by the time we finished out our food it was 10pm. Too late for a cup of tea according to the waitress but we got one of the cooks to make us some. She got told off by the waitress but we got out tea !
Some of us then retired to the top floor where there is a swing seat. We sat for quite some time chatting as we knew it was the last night of relaxation for some time. Finally at nearly 1am I am finishing my blog so that I can call it a night. Alarms are on for 7am so that we can start the first day on the mountain.
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