It has been a whirlwind trip and coming home was no different. I have been busy since I got back but that aside I wanted to let you know I had a fantastic trip and feel compelled to recommend and praise some of your employees and subcontractors.
The first is Halima which I may not be spelling correctly but her calming spirit helped from the get go. Her job knowledge and ease in dealing with the many facets of your program she demonstrated a high level of confidence and poise all the while, being a good leader, she worked well with the team to get things done. I will miss her smile.
The second is Team Barnabas as I chose to call them at the end. What I asked of them was to move at a quicker pace than your program calls for and I do not know if they new this up front but we were able to communicate this right off and were on the same page. Their positive attitudes were refreshing. I was nervously excited and Poli Poli was the word of the days to come. Barnabas is very knowledgeable about this mountain and I do not think I could have asked for a better guide. I have a wide range of interests from plant life to geology, animal tracks to birds and the history of the area. With his people living at the base of the mountain he has a long history and his connection to the area was refreshing. Barnabas, Earnest, Bruno, Ernesto and Marajie make a great team and got along like brothers. I only regret not knowing more KiSwahili as I missed a few entertaining stories after we seen the Elephant tracks. I also seen a young lion track (or other cat) near our stall out point just before Morum Barrier Gate. The heavy rains of the prior days obscured most of them but it was traveling north to south. The food was great and I was impressed with the teamwork. I had not noticed the addition of the milk products as the thickener in the soups and porridge as they were to good to turn away. I do not camp like that and it was great to eat hot freshly prepared food. Barnabas does receive the highest recommendation as I struggled due to my not preparing for the wind. I prepared for every aspect and was not chilled by the wind but failed to realize it could take my breath away and did not train with a mask which was a big oops on my part. My ability was based conditioning (mental and physical) and on three other factors, hydrate, fuel, and breathing any one of these out of sync and my performance was hindered. We had the rhythm of Kili almost immediately and I lost it as fast as I had found it. I am guessing and 80 Km wind hit the group a few hours into the climb and stayed with us until Stella Point. About half way Barnabas took my pack and was very instrumental in getting me the rest of the way. Assess, Assess, Assess as the wind had took a toll. I forget I have a slight allergy to dust and eat, swallowed and inhaled so much dust in the switchbacks I almost turned back and will be coughing it up for months to come. Barnabas's calming spirit helped me focus and regain the mountains rhythm. Thanks for picking him, he was the right guide for me.
Lastly but not in the least any less impressive than the previous was our Safari driver Asan (spelling). Now I have a little confusion on his position as I thought it was you Asan that was driving us but now that I see your title on this email I was mistaken. Either way our driver Asan was extremely knowledgeable about the three destinations we visited, including the route, and had a way of explaining that insured we layman to your county could grasp easily. The way he described the symbiotic relationship between species and especially the Zebra and Wildebeest was just a pleasure to listen to. Plants, animals, birds, and the specific details of the various parks and a great eye for detail. We, while searching for larger animals came across a Dung beetle rolling it babies down the road. I doubt any other vehicle got shots of this little creature among the vast open landscapes. Good eye Asan. The personal stories we shared are not something that can be fabricated or taught but rather in my opinion one has to have an honest sincerity in sharing. If we mistakenly asked him to overstep his position it was not his fault but our own exuberance and his willingness to please a client. We have a few new friends in Africa and I consider him as one and feel he is a great asset to your team.
It took several days after my climb to realize all of your concerns about my attempt to catch the group and even the wilderness medicine people were impressed that I could do this with no high altitude medication or for that matter any drugs in my system. My personal reasons are just that, I shared them with the Barnabas and I could not see not summiting during the fullest moon possible and joining the group I was able to catch up to. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to succeed.
If my pictures turned out I will send you one from the top.
Edward Allard (Brown Horse)