Diary of a Kili climber
Dembi Olufon shares the experience of her recent climb to the highest point on the African continent to raise funds for KidsCo
Name: Dembi Olufon aka Adrenaline Junkie Mission: Climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for charity. Beneficiary: Kids Company (KidsCo), a London-based charity that provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable innercity children. Mission Accomplished?: YES!!!
Day I: Arrival 13 hours after leaving London, I finally touch down in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. It only took two flights and a three-hour layover to get here, no big deal. Met some of the other volunteers as I got off the plane and we made our way through customs and were met by our KidsCo coordinator, Suzie, and our guides, John and Emmanuel. Took an hour to get from the airport to our hotel. I am exhausted. Fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and woke up just in time to shower and change for team briefing. We are all stunned to hear we will have a team of 74 men working with us; 1 chief guide, 9 assistant guides, 2
cooks, 11 chief porters and 51 porters. Do we REALLY need 74 people to help us up the mountain? We are warned of the dangers of AMS (altitude mountain sickness) and told to report any symptoms (shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue…) straight away. Yikes. We have an early start tomorrow so it’s an early night for all. We’re starting off with an “easy” three-hour walk. Lord help me!
Clockwise from top left: The volunteers hiking through the snow; a sign at Uhuru Peak, Africa’s highest point; Dembi geared up for further climbing; Volunteers and porters ascend with their backpacks.
Day II: Big Tree Camp Up at 6am to pack, shower and have breakfast in time for 8am departure. Duffel bags have to weigh no more than 15kg as the porters have to carry them. That’s a relief as I also 27