Update from Springlands Hotel

I’m sorry to report that we had no news from the mountain yesterday. Will let you know if we hear anything today. My understanding is that if the hikers make it to a certain point and cannot go on, they wait at the camp while others go up. They reconnect at the camp when the climbers descend again.

In the meantime, we’ve had excitement at Springlands Hotel and fun in the Moshi environs, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Yesterday we went to Huruma Hospital operated by the Sisters of Kilimanjaro Huruma Convent in Moshi. The Hospital was so interesting to see! We were shown around by the head Chaplain who knew both Fr. Kennedy and Fr. Leo. It’s a 300 bed facility, with census of 281 yesterday. 100 of the beds are for Maternity. There is a large Maternity wing where women close to full-term stay and where patients with potential complications may stay for months. Yesterday alone had 94 women expected to deliver!

We also were lucky enough to tour the sisters’ facilities. Two hundred nuns live there in an almost completely self-sustaining situation. They grow coffee and bananas, as well as all their vegetables. They raise sheep, cows, and pigs also. We spent time with two nuns in the sewing room, a large area where clerical vestments are made.

Then we went to Marangu Falls, a tourist attraction at high elevation at the end of another very long unimproved, bumpy road. An interesting legend surrounds the falls. We very much enjoyed our visit there.

We had a special invitation to dinner last night at the home of one of Father Kennedy’s recent parishioners, Ophelia Swai, who worked at a fashionable hotel in the Serengeti and now has her own business, “Come
Walk With Me.” You can learn more about this venture (and join!) on her blog: http://opheliaswai.wordpress.com/.

Joining us on this visit was Shirley Jahad, a National Public Radio (NPR) journalist who is researching for a piece on the proposed road through the Serengeti from Musoma to Arusha. She heard about Kurt and the TDS initiative and arranged to join us at the Springlands Hotel and travel with the group to the Serengeti and to Musoma. She went with us last night to Ophelia Swai’s house for dinner last night and today interviewed her for the piece. Having worked right in the Serengeti, Ophelia has special insight into the road situation.

Off for more adventures,
—Georgette Rocheleau

Update: Today we went to Arusha where we intended to visit a national park but changed plans when we saw there is a big tourism convention going on this weekend. It was too great an opportunity for Shirley to miss, so
we went there to help her with her research. As usual, we had a great day with surprise adventures.

BUT, no news still from the mountain. We know they expected to start hiking at Midnight and reach the peak for sunrise this morning. We understand it is so cold at the summit one doesn’t stay too long there. By now, 9:20pm [1:20pm U.S. Central Time] on Saturday night, they should be tucked in their sleeping bags at their one and only campsite on the way down the mountain.

We plan to leave the hotel at 9:00am [1:00am U.S. Central Time] on Sunday morning and drive to the gate where they are expected to begin arriving at around 11:00am [3:00am U.S. Central Time]. We have invited Shirley, the NPR journalist, to join our small welcoming committee. Should be another exciting day for the

—Georgette Rocheleau

What questions do you have for Georgette about her visits in northern Tanzania? Post your questions or comments below.

2 Responses to Update from Springlands Hotel

  1. What a pleasant addition to the plans – the NPR reporter. Great updates, Georgette, thanks!

  2. Fine diary/reporting! A great experience which should compensate well for the disappointments of the last trip to Africa.