As we travel many sights are familiar, the statue of the Military man with a machine gun and words, “water for life, tell us we are close to our hotel. Was it really just a few days ago that we saw this for the first time? It holds more meaning now as we have learned how critical water is to our being and how fortunate we are to have easy access at home. We gulp the bottled water and John exclaims, “this is how water is supposed to taste!” We are happy to abandon our Nuun flavoured water.
We arrive at the hotel to chaos. We need to get our room key, luggage, valuables from the hotel personnel and our gear from the bus. We are on Africa time, though our schedule is North America. We need to submit our dirty clothes to housekeeping and our filthy bodies to the shower. We need to sort our gear into three parts, gear not needed for remainder of trip, gear needed for Safari and gear needed for Zanzibar. It appears as though I’m back to digging. My brain remains fuzzy, head pounds and nausea my old friend continues pestering. I get to the work and slowly its complete with much digging and many items misplaced and found. I’m so tired of this game.
John takes the first shower, my gift to him for his devotion and love on the mountain. He emerges squeaky clean and happy. I take my time it’s such a luxury to have so much water and I relish in this moment, thinking how I take so much for granted in my daily life and seem always searching for more. I hope to remember this feeling and take it home with me.
Too soon it’s time to watch the drummers and dancers perform for us, to celebrate our victory. In a cruel twist of fate the event is on the top of the hotel, and the only access stairs. I sigh, and ascend. The performance is already in full swing. We lean against the back wall and watch. We are tired and sore and I marvel at the fluidity of their movements. They engage the audience by asking and pulling many from our group, John included to dance. I am asked but decline, content to maintain my spectator stance. One of the dancers brings out a large snake and its body loops and coils around hers. At one point she puts it down her pants and writhes. Our group seems put off by this act and the show ends shortly after. They have trinkets to sell and I choose a giraffe, hoping as the transaction is made that we will see Giraffes tomorrow on our Safari.
We arrive for dinner. It is set up buffet style. There is wine and even ice cream. I just can’t eat and try some soup and ice cream only. I wonder if I will ever feel well again?
We receive the plan for tomorrow. Most of us will be flying out on small planes to begin our Safari. Others will go on different excursions and still others will be going home. We are told our Certificates for completing the climb will not arrive in time. We are unwilling to leave without them. It has occurred to us that life moves slow in Africa, but we are expected to arrive on time and wait for hours. We decide to dig in our heels and collectively formulate a plan to not leave the hotel until we have our certificates.
John and I go back to our room and quickly fall asleep on a bed that I thought was too hard less than a week ago but now proclaim as just right tonight.