The Elgon Chronicles

I have not blogged in a while because three of my friends, including my little brother, and I, went to climb Mount Elgon last week. We set off for Mbale last Sunday – 24th May and started our climb on Monday 25th May. The climb took us five days – three days to get to Wagagai Peak and two days to climb down. Over the next few days, I will chronicle our journey to the top and back.

I still feel dazed. It still feels surreal. I still ask myself whether I actually climbed a mountain or whether maybe I had a dream that lasted a week long.

Here’s what happened on Sunday 24th May:

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Hannington helping us to pack up the car.

My boys and I went to church and I sat beside Michelle – one of my friends who climbed with me. We had agreed to leave church at exactly 11:00 a.m. in order to be ready by noon, which was when our transport was supposed to arrive at my place to pick me up. We left church just slightly before the sermon ended and made our way home. Michelle had to pick up her dry cleaning and I took my boys to Game store to pick up some supplies.

Hannington, our driver, arrived at my gate at 11:50 a.m. In what is a rare feat for me, I had packed all my things a day early and so was ready to go the minute the driver hooted at my gate. We loaded my luggage into the car and I bid my family farewell. The parting was emotional. First, my oldest son gave me a long, tight hug, then the younger son too. His hug was longer and tighter. I saw Harriet, our House Help, lingering near my younger son, so I decided to give her an embrace too.

I then went to bid farewell to my husband. He was walking out of his study, a limp in his step. He was clearly in pain from a wound he was nursing. I felt bad that I had to leave him like that, that I wouldn’t be there to help him get through the pain. He sat down on the chair outside his study and asked me to help him clip his nails before I set off. I willingly obliged, and then said good bye.

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We drove behind these tanks as we left Lugogo Mall

I got into the car and we drove to Michelle’s house to pick her up. After we loaded her stuff onto the car, we remembered that we had forgotten some of our snacks and medicines at my home, so we drove back there. We picked those up and proceeded to pick up Bernard from his home. We then proceeded to my office to pick up my brother, as well as our food supplies which we had stocked at my office. After we were all loaded, we decided to pass by Good African Coffee at Lugogo Mall, to pick up our last good cup of coffee before hitting the road to Mbale.

We made a stop at Namawojolo and stocked up on roadside snacks – some roasted chicken and plantain (gonja), and we ate to our fill. As we passed Mabira forest, we reminisced about the six hour walk we had done a week ago, as part of our preparation to climb the mountain. The banter in the car was light; we were all excited about the great adventure ahead.  In Mbale, we checked in at Wash and Wills Hotel and then went to Endiro for our ‘Last Supper’. I had a burger as my last meal before the climb. We then went back to the hotel and called it a night. We agreed to meet up in the hotel lobby at 6:30 a.m. the following morning to start off our journey to climbing the Elgon Mountain.

The words on my mind as I went to bed last Sunday night, were from our Boot Camp trainer, George. He sent us a message saying “I wish you all the best and do remember that as a team, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Look after each other and God bless…”

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