Jacob Musa (13) and his young sister Julitha Kurwa (12) are not sailors. But still they have a right to shout: “Ahhoy there!” because they managed to reach to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro (the snow-capped mountain and the roof of Africa) representing a cause for local orphans.
As Julitha recalls it was around 7.30 a.m. on June 21, 2014 after a breath taking two and half hour slow walk from Stella Point that she managed to reach Uhuru Peak, 5,895 meters, above sea level. “For some seconds I totally forgot that I came along with my young brother, then some 15 minutes or so later turning I saw him coming towards me in a second group and it downed on me he has made it. We both made it! And surely we were able to make it to the top summit of the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro due to high assistance from the two mountain guides from the ZARA Tanzania Adventures (Zara tours) namely Faustine Chombo and Crispin Sawaki .. ” she explained joyfully in interview with this paper at Mweka gate during the ‘Reception ceremony’ of this year’s Geita Gold Mine (GGM) Mt.Kilimanjaro Expedition against HIV/AIDS.
She recollected that was the culmination of “our seven day Mt. Kilimanjaro climb” through the toughest Machame route (also known as Whisk route) that to her still seems like a dream.
“Reaching Uhuru peak was a dream come true but the actual climb is a long episode that one’s need to grow old first to forget, and I will never forget the high assistance from my brothers from the ZARA and Geita Gold Mine whose assistance was very meaningful to me to reach the summit” noted young girl Julitha accompanied by her brother Jacob Musa, both standard five pupils at Mbugani Primary school located in Geita township.
“I and Jacob selected ourselves to join 2014 Geita Gold Mine (GGM) Mt. Kilimanjaro Challenge against HIV/AIDS and endorsed by fellow orphans at the Moyo wa Huruma orphanage located in Geita town.
Each and every one at the orphanage wishes to follow in the footsteps of our well-wishers for the Geita Gold Mine, as well as the Managing Director of the Geita Gold Mine (GGM) Mr. Michael Van Anen who joined as in our group and reach the summit. “Said Jacob Musa from Moyo wa Huruma Orphanage center who was the first young boy in this year’s Geita Gold Mine expedition group to reach Uhuru Peak, 5,895 meters, above sea level.
Moyo wa Huruma under the tutelage of Geita Roman Catholic Diocese cares for more than 80 orphans.
Julitha Kurwa who was the youngest guy in the group, and her brother Jacob Musa are both Standard Five pupils at Mbugani Primary school in Geita.
Explaining their journey in general the two young guys said that, with their fellow climbers from GGM they had enough walking and hills climbing exercises prior to our departure to Moshi on June 14, 2014.
When we landed in Moshi, all climbers were lodged at SpringLands Hotel located in Pasua area. We were introduced to ZARA Chief Guides, Mr. Faustine Chombo and Theophil Karia and received detailed briefing on the actual climb, and prepared for the first hike early next day
At dawn on July 15, 2014; we left the hotel in two ZARA Tanzania Adventure minibuses for a ride to Machame Gate. After formalities which including registration for each climber a flag-off function was organized for our expedition.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr. Lazaro Nyalandu, graced the ceremony. I remember him announcing: “I ask the expedition to go to Uhuru peak and while up there loudly declare in and beyond that Tanzania without AIDS is possible.”
The first day trek was tough by all measures. “Walking the 18 kms from Machame Gate to Machame Camp was beyond my expectation and that of many of my fellow climbers … I arrived totally exhausted. I was in fact feeling ill, wishing to go back and return to Geita for good.”
However, the expedition Captain from GGM Mr. Clement Msalangi in fact managed to cajole me to move on during the second and each of the following days.
However, the real examination came on the 21th June, 2014 when the expedition summit. We left from Barafu Camp where we arrived earlier in the afternoon at 10 p.m. to start the most daring climb to Stella Point and ultimately Uhuru peak. It was freezing cold and at
Barafu winds were blowing crazily.
The climb was very slow and the chief guide called for constant breathing breaks. I felt my body aching all over, air was thinner and walking with a torch on the forehead was tricky. At times I find myself sleeping but the requirement was to keep on walking ahead and more so above.
At dawn our expedition managed to reach Stellar Point, I thought that was it but I was proved wrong. The order came from the chief guide: “Climbers should stand up and move ahead to cover the last 200 meters to Uhuru Peak!”
“To say the truth, I don’t believe the remaining distance was really 200 meters. Because we walk and walk for over 2 hours lucky enough I and my young brother George we ultimately made it.
I had many people to thank for the feat but much salutes goes to Faustine Chombo-a professional Mt. Kilimanjaro tour guide from ZARA Tanzania Adventures who throughout the expedition played a role of my guardian farther. The other important person was our expedition physician, He was all over attending to climbers with various complains now and then. The good doctor was always keen to check on my fitness and that of my brother. She further said:
“Expedition captain, the chief guide, porters, and all members of the expedition I thank you for your assistance while we were on that giant mountain. I will always remember you!”
“I almost forget to record here that on reaching Mweka Gate after two day descent we found the Executive Chairman of the Tanzania Commission for HIV/AIDS (TACAIDS) Dr. Fatma Mrisho accompanied by Dr. Ibrahim Msengi-the Moshi district Commissioner waiting for us on behalf of the Kilimanjaro regional commissioner Mr. Leonidas Gama!
I and my brother Jacob shook hands with the DC and received strong joyfully hugs from different top government officials from Kilimanjaro region including the GGM Acting Human Resources Manager Mr. Charles Masubi and Dorah Aloyce who represented the Chief Park Warden of the Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) Mr. Erastus Lufungulo” she observed how lovely the climb ended!
Sharing the ‘taste’ of Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing, some of the trekkers of this year’s expedition who reached the highest peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Uhuru peak-5,895 m ASL) Mr. Tenga Tenga-a Tanzanian official from the GGM and Ms. Melinda Van Anen from a GGM official from Australia explained that, they experience all kinds of the World’s weather from tropical to arctic ones.
“Apart from enjoying the majestic of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we real experience all kinds of the Worlds weather from tropical to arctic ones…” explains Tenga Tenga who works with GGM as Public Relations Manager.
Speaking with this paper, the Managing Director of the ZARA Tanzania Adventures Ms. Zainab Ansell said that, her company has become the guide of the ‘crucial’ expedition for more than a decade to join the government efforts in the battle against HIV/AIDS.
“As you know, HIV/AIDS has become one of the giant problems to our society that’s why I’m saying that, there is urgent need to join forces with the government to fight it; I appeal other institutions to emulate Geita Gold Mine initiatives.
She added that, she is very glad to have such a group that apart from combating HIV/AIDS pandemic in Tanzania, will promote in the Asian countries including China as the number of tourists from Asian countries is low compared with the other European, Scandinavian and Caribbean countries.
(The 2014 Geita Gold Mine Mt. Kilimanjaro Challenge against HIV/AIDS poses for the group photo during their Reception ceremony at Mweka gate after doing 7days Kilimanjaro climb, machame Route).
About ZARA TOURS
ZARA TOURS, founded in 1987, is currently the No. 1 Kilimanjaro outfitter in Tanzania and one of the largest safari operators in the country. ZARA TOURS owns and operates two hotels and three tented camps, and looking to open two new camps later this Year. Has 88 safari and climbing expert guides who speak English, German and Spanish, and a fleet of fully-equipped vehicles that take tourists on safari adventures or treks up Mt. Kilimanjaro. ZARA TOURS is proud to be known as one of the best operators in the region with a reputation for providing an exceptional, unforgettable and safe experience.