This is the second part of a guest post from Emma Higham who her walked up Mount Kilimanjaro for The Good Life Orphanage in 2010. Read the first part here and then if you want to donate to the already incredible amount raised then please do so here!

Day Four was the long walk to Kibo huts (4700m). This is through desolate looking alpine desert, by this height the weather can change very dramatically and very quickly, you can actually watch the clouds sweeping in across mountain. Kibo huts looked a little like something out of a war film! A somewhat bleak place full of weather beaten men sheltering from the cold and some very disconcerting stretchers, which we just hoped we would not need. This is where we would rest for a few hours before attempting the final ascent.

The atmosphere was electric. You share a dormitory with the other hikers who are about to summit, so the room is full of excitement and anticipation. Arriving at around 4pm, you are fed well and told to rest as much as you can as your summit attempt will begin at midnight.

At 11pm we got possibly the gentlest ever wake up call from one of the guides and added more layers to our already impressive amount of clothing.
Head torches on you make your way out into the freezing night air and start zig zagging up the steep scree slope. The stars we incredible and like nothing I had ever seen and the adrenalin had definitely kicked in. But soon the clouds set in and the 6 and a half hour walk to Gilman’s point got a whole lot harder! You can only see the feet of your guide in front of you, it is so cold your water starts freezing and there was ice in my hair. Every five or so steps you have to stop as you just can’t breath or because another wave of nausea hits.

I have to say at this point, it was the thought of the hardship that some of the Children have had to endure before they come to the safety of the GLO that kept me going, I knew that by comparison I had absolutely nothing to complain about.

As the sun started to come up we reached the first landmark, Gilman’s point at 5681m up. It was an amazing feeling as we watched the sunrise, got a huge hug of congratulations from Mndeme and attempted to have a little cry (something which at that altitude is practically impossible as you can not afford to waste the oxygen!).

We then continued around the crater edge and up another 200 meters passing the most beautiful glaciers to the Uhuru peak, hardly able to believe that I had actually made it! It was a feeling of absolute elation and exhaustion I am not sure I can explain or indeed will ever feel again, but was worth every step.

We made our way down the mountain with a huge sense of pride, but also one of complete admiration for the guides and porters, who are just incredible and without whom we never would have made it to the peak.

Tired and a wee bit burnt me and Aletta parted at Nairobi airport. Luckily for me this was just the first part of my adventure as Mombassa and the GLO awaited! My tiredness quickly turned to joy as I walked through arrivals to be greeted by David, a gigantic hug from Mama Alice and the most wonderful welcome from 8 of the Children. Two weeks of fun were about to begin.

I cannot thank all those who sponsored me enough. Knowing all that money was going to help build a brighter future for some amazing children was the perfect motivation and undoubtedly helped get me up that mountain.

I am just collecting and counting the last few pounds, but thanks to everyone’s generosity I have raised around £2500, which will essentially cloth, feed and educate nine of the lovely GLO children for an entire year. A huge and very heartfelt THANK YOU!

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