Get over it! My journal for the second half of September 2010

Saturday, September 11th, I was packed and ready for my taxi to pick me up and take me some 30 odd miles to Marangu Hotel to get set for my climb kubwa.

I met my climbing partners who were from England, and unbeknownst to me, had my last Kilimanjaro beer.

I felt funny…light headed, no energy, nauseous, and achy. Now this didn’t seem right, considering I was just off five days of Ciprol and 5 days of Flagyl, along with Imodium and my Malarone for malaria prevention.  I’d read all about the amoeba I’d been harbouring and considered maybe it wasn’t eradicated after all, but those couple of Kili’s I had over those five days tasted good, and I didn’t know I wasn’t to have any dairy products within 3 hours of Ciprol – do you realize that with 2 Ciprol a day, no milk in my tea or coffee for 12 hours of that day? OUCH! Maybe it was in my brain and liver after all like the website said could happen. ‘Get over it, Gail’

Sunday I talked myself into good health, but the thought of a beer made me queasy.

Tea, all day, tea.

Bedtime Sunday, my angel spoke to me, harshly, in the bathroom…’oh, Please God, not this again’…Yup, back full force. Well, maybe tomorrow…

But tomorrow was the same story…this ain’t getting better.

It’s very hard to admit defeat before the war has started, but after talking to the director of tour operations, and thank God Desmond and Seamus Bryce-Bennet of Marangu Hotel are the caring people that they are, I was convinced I was best to quit while ahead.  It was hard to see my climbing buddies with their guides and porters head off to Rongai Gate without me. I felt I’d let them all down.

The telling tale is that I was so relieved to be going back to the KCMC Hospital in Moshi. Tests were redone and found nothing. That was wonderful, in my mind. It meant those little suckers weren’t invading my brain and liver. What was hard on the old system was all of the medication. It caused an intestinal battleground. I was dehydrated, exhausted and sad. I went home to my little Moshi cottage and slept again for two nights and a day…Back on Ciprol for another 5 days – WHAT!!!

One thing about being sick, once better, you feel better than before you got sick!

September 19th JGI Roots and Shoots marched for International Peace Day. It was wonderful. The day was perfect. R&S Members and co-coordinators and volunteers met at the end of the Mweka daladala route where we had white balloons with a silhouette of doves, Peace and Amani (Peace in Kiswahili) drawn on them. We had a 6 foot sign made up and students carried it and flew our Peace Dove with it’s 20’ wing span as we walked to the Mweka Trail gate. We then returned down to Mweka Village to Omi Primary School where we held a ceremony and many stories were told and many photos were taken. On her Jane Goodall website, Jane describes this UN International event. She was in China flying their Peace Dove at the same time we were flying ours here in Tanzania.

Presenting R&S Water Bottles

Flying our Peace Dove to Mweka

To Mweka Gate

At Omi School

My workmate/roommate left Monday for her 8 day safari with her parents visiting from New York. I took the opportunity of going to Usa River on the bus with Gumbo as he was going to Arusha. I wanted to attend a Rotary Club meeting there. I’d heard of River Trees Country Inn last October so wanted to have a look for myself. It is indeed beautiful. Instead of one night, I splurged and spent two, because of the kind people I met there. Martina Gherken-Trappe never stops. She’s the owner and hands on everything and everything happens at River Trees. Weddings, bush-babies, tourists coming and going, monkeys, honeymooners…a tranquil, natural respite. In those two days, I gained all of the weight I’d lost from being sick…


View From the Dining Room


Sykes Monkey at RiverTrees


The River at RiverTrees

Today I received word there is a spot for me on a climb going the Marangu Route.

I’ll take whatever is available as I don’t have too much time left in Tanzania. Tomorrow I’ll go to the Hotel again and meet my climbing mates, two ladies from Norway. I hope they are tough on me. Wish me luck for Monday and hopefully, I’ll report my progress next week.

Friday, September 10, 2010 from Moshi, Tanzania

When I was in Grade One, around Easter time, I experienced exactly the same feeling that I am experiencing right now, as I force myself to sit and continue this journal.

On Vancouver Island, the little Tsolum School on the hill, across from the ‘big’ school, housed Grade 1 and Grade 2. I was ready for school, loved it, there was no pre-school or kindergarten in 1946 and I remember crying when my brother boarded the bus in September 1945. I wanted to go to school so badly. I’d only turned five that Spring.

I was an achiever. So, when I contracted measles in Grade 1, my pages to a Reading project we each had started was left idle in my little desk. When I returned to class, recovered, the individual pages that I had so lovingly composed, colored, and cared for, were all scrunched up, some even missing, in my desk. Upon this discovery, I was horrified…my ‘creation’…? I was devastated; yet consumed with guilt. I didn’t dare tell anyone. I couldn’t sleep. I felt sick. Days later, when Miss McQuillan asked for our completed projects to be handed in, I made excuses. Eventually, pressured into telling the truth to my teacher, I broke down and cried.

Today, once more, I face the dragon. (I didn’t lose sleep this time – and today, I don’t feel the guilt.) However, it has been three months since my last entry. Naughty child!

I completed my three week Kiswahili Course with KIU at Slipway in Dar es Salaam at the end of June, with an uphill pull. It was tough and I ended with a meltdown.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing…” because, once able to put three words together to form a simple sentence, my Tanzanian friends are so excited they throw back a rapid paragraph, believing I understand…regroup! It’s so hard to learn another language later in life.

At the same time I was going to Tanzanian Immigration ending up spending 2-3 days a week riding daladalas for up to an hour each way and getting evasive shaftings for two months.  Finally, on July 26th I received my Residence Permit Class C , required for volunteering, and celebrated with a 3 day safari to Selous Safari camp in Selous National Park. On August 12th, I was on my way to Moshi.

During the month of July, all of us at Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots in Tanzania, especially Alyssa, Ania, and myself who were living at Dr. Jane’s home in Dar, were involved in the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Gombe Stream. Dr. Jane’s home was her ‘pit stop’ so, on three whirlwind occasions, she arrived during her African Tour. Each time, we all attended receptions held in Jane’s honor. First was the dinner at the British High Commissioner’s, second the Tanzanian President’s Reception held at the Kempinski Hotel in Dar, and third was the reception held at the French Embassy.  All were very impressive and at all three functions.

Gail and Grub

Gail and Grub

Jane spoke so eloquently and passionately regarding her favourite topic today, conservation for animals and man.

Gail and Jane

Gail and Dr. Jane Goodall

I was invaded by some nasty, waterbourne amoeba, a week ago (I have its name and number, which I shan’t ever forget!). Despite being on three regimes of antibiotics until tomorrow, I’m packing, hoping my clothing will be warm enough for the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro…and praying everything fits me, layered. Tomorrow I leave for my hotel and I’ll chill out for a day before I start my climb Monday morning September 13th. I reckon the 13th is a lucky day to start something good.

It’s Edi this morning in Tanzania, the big celebration for Muslims, ending Ramadhan.  The first light of the moon for their calendar was seen and the singing and happiness is literally in the air. So today is a National holiday with banks and Government office and schools etc., closed. Imagine, if the moon hadn’t been sighted everything would have remained open as usual. Amy and I have been invited to two different Edi feasts tonight. Two of our closest co-workers in JGI Roots and Shoots at Mweka are Muslim and have been fasting for a month. I’ve been commiserating with them, saying I feel for them; I fast every day, from bedtime until sunrise. They laugh and laugh, then say, “Everyone does”.

Gail and Gumbo

Gail and Gumbo on the trail to Suungu SS

My two beautiful Tanzanian Muslim friends…happy today as every day.