How to top 2012
Can it be done? Biting my lip on this one.
Can it be done? Biting my lip on this one.
(Photo via Erin Roberts)
What I was thinking as this photo was being taken:
“Holy f*@k it feels like my skin is literally peeling away from my body so it can move away from here and curl up and huddle together for warmth or some semblance of how it used to feel to be somewhat comfortable being outdoors. Take the goddamn photo Nick, please take the f’in photo.”
Chris has a really great post on Summit Night/ Day if you’d care to read it. I have been slow to revisit that time.
There is a day for everything! That’s right, today is World Toilet Day.
I also read that today is International Men’s Day. Hmmmm. Weirdly enough World Toilet Day comes after World Hand Washing Day which is in October.
Anyways, I was thinking earlier it’s unfortunate I never took a photo of the more basic toilets we used in our rural visits. I guess I never thought to do that because I was more concerned with actually using the toilet carefully over taking a photograph of it.
The toilets we used in and on our way to Kiteto were squat toilets. They’re exactly what they sound like. If you follow through to the Wiki page ours were not quite as fresh and clean, as I imagine most in the developing world are not. I fondly remember passing a flock of live chickens just hanging outside of the lavatory, somehow not minding the smell.
Like WaterCan says, “it may not be glamourous, but adequate sanitation is vital to development and human life.” Toilets play a humble yet incredibly important part in our daily lives. Weren’t you thankful for yours today?
At Engusero Primary School there were separate squat toilets for girls and boys. I can’t express enough how having a private and safe place to go to the bathroom influences and improves the lives of girls.
A lack of separate bathrooms actually increases absenteeism which leads to more young girls dropping out of school which is already so common without the bathroom politics.
While I don’t think girls should be embarrassed of their periods (there are a lot of arguments surrounding the issue of common vs. separate toilets) it is a significant improvement over shared toilets where boys and girls use the same space.
It can be argued common toilets prioritize the interests of males, leaving the needs of females out of the picture. I think: if girls have their own toilets, they can focus on their own bodies, and get back to class. They don’t have to stay home, they don’t have to worry someone will find out their on their period, they can just take care of themselves and get going.
I’m not even going to get into the traditional style of relieving yourself - in the woods or bush or whatever is an option. You can imagine or easily research the problems stemming from that - for females and males.
Sanitation is recognized by the UN as a human right - yet 1 in 3 people the world over don’t have access to a safe toilet. World Toilet Day aspires to hold governments to their promises to provide adequate sanitation through global awareness campaigns. Let me know if you enjoyed using a toilet today! You can sign the petition and share why you give a shit here.
(Photo via World Toilet Organization and Inscrutable Exhortations)
I want to and have to talk about this for just a bit because it happened again tonight and it’s aggravating.
A few times now, even before I left for Tanzania, I was met with what could be the worst kind of criticism. A kind of hopeless, faithless and uninspired criticism. I don’t know where this comes from - jealousy maybe or maybe I’m being too sensitive or others are being insensitive or they are uneducated or I should research more, or maybe its intimidation due to epic bad assness.
When some people, not naming names, found out I was headed to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro they made sure to “point out” that Mount Kilimanjaro is not hard or is considered an easy hike of the mountain hikes in the world.
That’s really nice.
Sadly I am back in Canada now but even sadder is the truth that having summited Mount Kilimanjaro, guys still need to make comments like “it can’t be that hard.”
It is or has been all guys, by the way, who have said things like this. Young guys, who are actually the kind of people most likely to not make it all the way up Kilimanjaro. Because they get too competitive, speed ahead, get sick from the altitude and are carried down in decompression bags.
All I can say to them (here through this blog, no way never to their faces, but maybe if my patience is tried one more time) is please go and give it a try and then we can talk. Because anyone who has not attempted to climb Kili can not review it so off’handedly with as little care or thought as putting on deodorant before the gym.
It was really hard.
I haven’t done a lot of hard things in my life - my Grandpa died when I was in grade six, I split my chin open on a concrete floor when I was in an even younger grade - I have suffered from very little heart ache and thankfully from little physical ailment or surgery in 23 years. Therefore, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is the hardest thing I have ever done. Especially and most definitely it was summit night that was so hard, which I promise to talk about at a later time.
Anyone who says it is easy has never done it. It’s as “not hard” as that.
A few weeks back WaterCan asked a few of us Ottawa people to put together five lessons we learnt on our trip for an Ottawa Citizen article called Kilimanjaro Climb for Life: Top 10 Lessons Learned The article should be out now although I haven’t seen it. Anyways I figure it’s ok to post mine here!
(Photo via Erin Roberts)
4. Let someone take care of you: My tent mate, Erin was great – she braided my hair, massaged my hands, kept me on time. Everyone on the team was each other’s nurse and our guides were constantly asking how we were doing. At the summit I could hardly support myself, I was exhausted and cold, falling over, and a guide, Deo, literally held me up. There isn’t a lot of room for independence on Kilimanjaro, you have to trust your team and take support when you can get it.
5. Canadians are incredibly lucky: from WaterCan’s clinic and school visits in rural Kiteto, to the experience we had on Kilimanjaro – raising $270,000 for clean water projects - I can say I’m ready to do a lot more. Everest Climb for Life 2020?
Mount Meru Hotel was a palace in comparison to where we’d been staying in Kiteto and the Thomson tents awaiting us on Kilimanjaro. Time before leaving for the climb was spent saving energy and rearranging luggage.
Our head guides, Wilfred and Honest, from Thomson Safaris met us in the late afternoon at the hotel to give us a briefing on the climb and equipment.
I had taken my altitude sickness medication a few hours before and began to feel the effects mid- meeting. It was intense! My legs were asleep and my lower back was starting to go too. A couple climbers went natural on the trek but most of us took Diamox, so we all experienced the same kind of tingly sensations in our hands and toes. Diamox is also a diuretic. Fun!
Along with the malaria tablets I was taking and my vitamins, I had a nice little collection of pills to take every day.
I started taking Ginkgo biloba on the advice of a friend a few weeks before the climb. It is supposed to help with vertigo as well as immune function, memory, all that stuff. It may have been a placebo effect thing, but I’ll take what I can get. That stuff gets some credit for getting me to the top of Kilimanjaro.
It’s safe to say the past few weeks have been a slow moving blur. I feel like I’ve been away for a long time but in reality…it was only about 3.5 weeks. The portion with WaterCan and Mount Kilimanjaro feels like another lifetime ago.
A story on the Kilimanjaro Climb for Life project is in what I guess is last week’s Hello! Canada (the one with Justin Timberlake’s wedding on the cover).
Our trip photographer, Nick Spector took amazing photos!
I have a lot to share. Not sure what’s been my favourite sight or moment but recapping a lot of my memories here should help.
Here we go!
Well, I am back on Canadian soil in my Canadian bed that was probably made in China.
Through Europe, all over Africa, back through Europe and West Jet loses my luggage somewhere between Toronto and Ottawa. But I am not complaining…My cousin and I watched a good amount of Louis CK in Amsterdam so I am not going to complain or whine because I know I will get it eventually and I got to partake in the miracle of flying so…
So much flying has let me catch up on all the latest (ish) movies. I’ve seen: Friends with Kids, Total Recall, Ted, the Avengers, Magic Mike, the Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus. It’s amazing! Thank you flying.