We did it!!

Posted by lizziecampbell on 7/25/2016 at 2:02 PM

WE DID IT!!! 

All 21 of us summited! Let me just preface this blog post by saying we would all agree that it was the hardest thing we had ever done.  We were awakened at 11pm, drank some tea, and started the climb at midnight. After a scramble up a steep wall (in the dark), we started the ascent. We walked straight uphill for eight hours- and the more we walked the thinner the air got. As we walked I had to continue to remind myself why we were there and that was to help women who have obstetric fistula.  Just as it felt as if the whole night would never end a dark orange color began to form in the sky. It was the sunrise. I was reminded to really appreciate the privilege of this experience but also why I was there and how special it was. As the sun began to rise, the reality of what we were about to have completed set in and I felt overwhelmed at once. Tears began to stream as we made our last steps and the sun rose to greet us at the top. Stella point, which is technically summiting, was not far from Uhuru point. Most of us were not feeling well and didn't want to continue. Luckily, our guide Godfrey seemed to know we would respond like this, and pushed us on to the top. When we finally reached the peak, it was hard to fully enjoy the moment because everyone felt a little sick. So we took pictures and then hurried back down, because it wasn't safe to stay at the top for more than a few minutes.  After a five hour decent we ate lunch back at Barafu and then descended (a 5 hour hike) even farther back to the forest.  We had a last dinner together and fell fast asleep. The next morning was emotional and sad because we had to say goodbye to the sweet friends we had made on our adventure. They sang to us and we then surprised them with a song of our own. We sang "This Little Light of Mine" and added a few Swahili words we had learned. They seemed to love it and afterwords we said goodbyes and started out on our final walk.  We made it to the bus after a few hours and started the journey back to our hotel. That night we ate a celebratory dinner at the hotel. I am overwhelmed at how well the climb and whole experience went. We departed for the US Saturday and I feel so happy. The whole trip was a success and it couldn't have been better. Looking back now, I realize that no matter how hard things get, there is someone who has it harder. We were reminded just before the summit climb that Jesus died on the cross, for us, and if he could do that then we could do this.  The whole experience was unbelievably awesome and I wouldn't have changed any of it for the world.  Thanks so much for your prayers and support!Lizzie 



Almost there...

Posted by lizziecampbell on 7/25/2016 at 2:02 PM

Hey!! 

Greetings from Barafu camp! We have officially made it to the summit night. Monday we hiked to Shira II camp and got some close up views of the mountain. We did an afternoon walk, took some great pictures and then ate a delicious dinner. The next morning we woke up and hiked 8 miles to Barracco camp, with a pit stop at Lava Tower (around 15,000 ft) to do some acclimating to the altitude. The last hour of the hike felt endless but as soon as we got to the camp and were able to eat a good dinner we felt better. Barranco is the closest we had gotten to the mountain so the nerves really started to set in. Godfrey, our leader, gave us a 5:00 am wake up call early the next morning. We scrambled up the Barracco wall and we all agreed that it was one of the scariest things we had done yet and we were very thankful when we were off it. Today was crazy as the rest of the hike made for the longest walking day yet. Dinner was short because Godfrey wants us to get some sleep before we wake up at 11 (pm) to begin our final ascent to Uhuru Peak at 19,341 feet. A nervous excitement is in the air and we just can't wait to get started. Wish us luck as we try for the roof of Africa! Lizzie 



We Have Seen The Mountain

Posted by lizziecampbell on 7/24/2016 at 8:08 AM

Hello! 

It's been a while since the last blog post but much has happened! We started our climb Saturday in the rain forest and walked for about four hours. We were able to admire the amazing sights and lively conversation the whole way to our first camp site called "forest camp". After a delicious dinner our head guide, Godfrey, sang "How Great Thou Art" in Swahili to us. Soon everyone joined him in English bringing some in the group to tears.  We awoke the next morning ready for a long walk. After some time we finally emerged out of the forest and into the Moorland. We walked uphill for some time and played the "celebrity game" suggested by yours truly. The game was basically just naming celebrities but it gave us all something to do to pass the time. After arriving at our second camp "Shira I", we caught our first views of the mountain and had our breath taken away. Today is the hike to Shira II and we are feeling excited but a little nervous as we are realizing just how big this mountain is. Lizzie 



The Joy Climb Begins!

Posted by lizziecampbell on 7/15/2016 at 11:11 PM

Jambo! 

Greetings from Tanzania! Today is the unofficial first day of the Joy Climb, and it has been very eventful. After a crazy flight into Arusha, we gathered as a group at the Lake Dulunti Serena lodge, and we prepared for our upcoming equipment check. Everyone seemed to settle in comfortably, and those who didn't know each other were quickly introduced. Next was to meet Godfrey, our head guide on the mountain. I speak for everyone when I say we felt instantly more at ease after meeting him. He helped assure us that we were in good hands, and told us he had successfully summited Kilimanjaro over 200 times. Wow. Then Godfrey made the rounds to our different rooms to do a thorough check of our gear. He also talked to us about any concerns we might have for the upcoming climb. Tonight we enjoyed a delicious dinner, and were presented with yet another opportunity to get to know one another. Allison proposed a toast to not only everyone climbing, but to the donors and supporters who have been so generous to help join in the fight to end fistula. I feel extremely proud to be a part of such an amazing campaign. We are all excited to begin our climb tomorrow. Many thanks again for all the support. To the mountain we go! 
Lizzie