‘…all he could see, as wide as all the world,
great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun,
was the square top of Kilimanjaro. And then he knew that there was where he was going.’
In 2008, donors and Seva Canada volunteers, Dr. Janette Lindley and Danny Peart, had the chance to visit Moshi, Tanzania and stay at the home of Paul Courtright and Dr. Susan Lewallen, founders of Seva Canada’s partner in Africa, the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO).
While in Tanzania, Danny and Janette climbed Mount Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser for Seva Canada. Danny wrote this poem a few years later and we wanted to share it with you.
The mountain is 19,340 feet high.
At the summit the atmosphere contains less than half of the oxygen available at sea level.
Gradual acclimatization is essential.
Our guide was called Old Man, though
he was six years younger than me.
I set off to lead. But Old Man called me back, saying, “Mama will take the lead. Baba is too fast.” My wife, Janette, went on ahead and I followed, muttering “Pole, pole.”
On our summit night we were up
and warmly dressed at 11:00 pm.
Four of us in headlamps would climb all night
seeking Uhuru Peak by sunrise.
We reached Gilman’s Point,
Summit now two hours away.
Mama Janette, feet and fingers frozen,
paused at times to find her breath.
As she leaned over behind a huge frozen rock to vomit,
our younger guide took my arm saying,
“Baba, don’t worry. I have prayed
to almighty God and he will come to our assistance.”
We shuffled on.
Morning light revealed the stark landscape
and the glacial ice that remained.
The sign for Uhuru Peak just a hundred yards ahead.
We were alone there, taking turns for photos
from the roof of Africa.
from Another Mountain to Climb