Friday, 23 December 2011

On cars, camping and climbing

The Mighty Bodle
In our previous post we had mentioned Clive and Bodle. They have been in Tanzania for many years working with a Christian Mission amongst other things. Ironically Clive is the brother of a well-respected colleague of Zanner back in the UK (small world, six degrees etc).  The ‘amongst other things’ include their involvement with one of the longest running mountaineering clubs in the world, the Kilimanjaro Mountaineering Club. Throughout the past year Bodle has been fastidiously archiving reams of documentation that has been collated since 1900, (see this link for interesting short article). So it was on this weekend (17/18th Dec 2012) that the official opening of the archive was arranged at the Marangu Hotel. The call went out to all those who might be interested and as we never have anything better to do we said yes. This somehow led to being lent a car and all the equipment necessary to go camping...which was nice.
Rub a dub dub...
Bodle turned up with the car and gear on the Saturday and we loaded the boys up who felt like this was more like it. I mean chauffeured by dad is the way things should be.
Upon arrival the boys off to swim whilst the tent was erected at speed by dad, then it everyone congregated for a fantastic buffet lunch on the garden of the Hotel. The hotel holds the archive and is one of the traditional starting points of one of the major routes up Kili; the hotel is owned by an English family who have been in Africa for generations and still maintain a colonial English accent.
Nick, you could listen for hours to this man.
After lunch we went to see the unveiling of the archive and listened to some fascinating stories about the club. The guest of honour was a gentleman called Nick (he is the father of Guy the Guy from the hash!), now in his late 80’s  he was one of the early secretaries of the club and again had some really interesting stories to tell. Not least the one about the secretary he took over from stealing all the club funds as well as funds from two businesses he was working for at the time.
Sleep came early and we woke the next day to camp breakfast. A short 3hours walk through plantations and villages to picturesque waterfalls was arranged for those with children, whereas other club members went on the longer walk of 2 hours...mmmmm it must be an African thing! Suffice to say we walked further than the ‘long walk’ but the kids were great. Luckily for us we had a lovely Dutch couple with their son, Sill [?], with us so the boys simply ran around scaring anything that was worth looking at. Much to the amusement of Clive who had chosen to come with us because we were doing the shorter walk!
The drive back was only eventful in that it brought home how wonderfully safe it is to drive in the UK. Undertaking, now prevalent on the motorway, is nothing compared to three Dala Dala mini buses all overtaking us around a corner into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. Part of me was happy to give the car back...the boys however thought this was the stupidest thing we have done thus far!  

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