First light on Mount Kilimanjaro, from our hotel in Moshi.
After a celebration dinner, with all of our team and guides, we all slept well last night and have a free day to repose and reflect on the first part of our adventure.
Heading back 'home' last night, Tony Olmsted said to me, "You can't go back after this, not questioning your life and what you think about the world". We continued our discussion, reflecting on the impact that being on this adventure and as guests in Tanzania has had on us. There is in Tanzania, a seemingly organic method of celebrating life and each other. According to economists we are in the 32nd poorest country on the planet, yet we are immersed in a culture and community that is happy, vibrant and full of dignity. There is no reliance on medications for anxiety and depression here (I've never actually noticed it's presence), generally speaking people are happy, contented and connected. There is a general absence of degenerative diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity and while there are no gyms or health clubs to exercise, most people walk and exercise in ways that we don't at home, tending to vegetables and animals, working on their homestead and doing these tasks in ways that are devoid of rush and haste.
And this is just a snapshot of daily life in Tanzania.
The men and women who work on the mountain and in tourism, speak freely of a love and connection to nature that is life-giving. My friend and guide, Myilo, says that "being in nature, has been the foundation of his life". It's clear to see that the national parks and mountains are his domain. During the hike yesterday we stopped to watch some Columbus Monkeys and it was clear to me that our sole purpose during this time, was to be together and watch these animals. What else was there to do, we had all day to walk five miles and travel back to our hotel.
I learn much from my visits here. Each time feels deeper, each visit seems slower and more relaxed and each day spent with my friend seems more precious. It's as if the preponderance of beautiful scenery, rich wildlife, flora and fauna, with the constantly changing landscape of the mountain -- all combined with this careful, procession up the mountain and back down -- with people who we care about and who care about us -- is enough to open us up, to how rich our lives are.
The mountain may have brought us together, but now it is in the background. It's not forgotten, but it's neither a destination or goal, just a place we've been -- and a catalyst for more than we came here for.
We are collecting pictures and sharing stories from the past week and we'll take time to share these over the next few days.
For all of our friends and family who are following. We miss you and are grateful for the support and wishes, from the other side of the world. It's morning in Africa and Europe now - and night time in the United States. We are all sitting around drinking coffee (picked from the slopes of the mountain), talking, being generally lazy and catching up on mail and Facebook. This afternoon some of us are headed over to Msamaria Center for Street Children, to hang out with the kids and staff - and maybe for some soccer, too.
Lala Salama (Goodnight)