Day 2 – Overnight at Horombo Hut 3700m/12340 feet
“As the rain forest makes way for the heather and shrubbery I need to remember how things became clearer once I had ventured through part of my therapy, when I was preparing to reveal the abuse to my soul mate.”
Left camp at about 9am after a breakfast of sorts, consisting predominantly of white eggs, something we had not experienced before. After about 30 minutes the forest stopped abruptly and the path started becoming dustier, rocky and the tall trees made way for the heather and shrubbery. Lunch was another squashed mess of peanut butter sandwiches accompanied by some more white anaemic eggs. As always our cook had made certain that there was something appetising, we finished off our meal with the most delicious small, sweet bananas.
Unlike the first day which was a moderate walk, today the pace became slower and more energy was needed as we reached new heights climbing another 1000m. I started feeling like I had to push myself, it was gruelling but I am pleased to say that I had not yet gone beyond my limits.
Samson our guide reminded us about “polepole” a Swahili word meaning “slowly slowly” – the slower you walk the better your body acclimatises. I reminded myself that the road to any recovery can be slow at times. It allows you the time needed to adjust to new feelings that healing brings with it. The weather became cooler after lunch and we started realising that we would need to cover up and start adding layers to keep warm.
By about 3.30pm we were getting tired and passed a very old porter carrying about 20kgs of baggage. Once again I think of the people that I have met along my pathway to recovery, very often people who had heavier burdens than I had to carry. I gave him my energy bars and chocolates hoping it would assist him along his journey. This is all he knew and he had probably done this all his life, that enormous weight was his world for that moment. It made me think of others that were abused and have not healed and still carry the baggage, many into their old age and some even to their graves. Through the organisation “South African MALE SURVIVORS Of Sexual Abuse” we hope to offer assistance and encouragement to men of all ages on their journey to healing.
We nagged Samson to tell us how far it was still to go to the next camp and he said the camp is at the base of the third hill ahead of us. In my estimation it would still be another 1.5 hours and I was hoping that I would have the energy to get there. As we reached the top of the first hill to our surprise the camp was right there – so one never knows there may be unexpected healing in an adverse environment and that it sometimes help to humour yourself and others. Sometimes progress can come at the most unexpected times and you must not take those little achievements lightly, those achievements are the building blocks to success.
Once again the best part of dinner was the delicious soup. The camp was so full there had to be two sittings in the dining cabin. We saw beautiful views from this camp of the Mawenzi mountain. At this point we were above the clouds and we had to wear gloves to protect our hands from the icy cold.
Tonight I was approached by an Irish man who was climbing with his son-in-law, who had seen me with the flag “1 in 6”. He told me how an attempt was made to abuse him as a young boy and how the same Irish priest had abused many of the boys in the parish. He further explained how today a community centre stands in the village, and is named in the same priest’s honour. I was moved that this stranger acknowledged me in my quest and once again brought to the fore how far reaching male abuse is worldwide.
The altitude was now starting to take its toll, 3700m above sea level is not ideal for humans and we felt it. We went to bed at 8.30pm and I had to sleep separately from my group as beds were in short supply. This did worry me a little as I was in close confinement with male strangers. Again I marvelled at how far I had come in my healing that even though I was cautious it really did not alarm me much. I needed to relieve myself three times during the night, a side effect of Diamox, a medication to assist with altitude sickness. The restricted movement in the sleeping bag made it very difficult to get in and out. We had to consume 3 to 4 litres of water per day, and as there was no running water we had to drink stream water which required purification. This made the water taste very bitter almost like chlorine but we had no option but to drink the water as it assists the body in coping with all adverse effects of climbing. The journey towards healing was many times strewn with bitter realisations of the reality of my experience, I was aware that however much I disliked the taste of reality I had no option but to tolerate the discomfort on my journey to healing.
When I was in the early stages of my recovery it was difficult going through the motions of life, simple things like getting up in the morning and going to work seemed futile but I pushed myself. Life does go on, the sun does rise every morning, the accounts do pour in, the kids have to be dropped off at school, you have to eat and of course you have to quench your thirst. Sometimes my journey of recovery was tainted with things of an insignificant importance and that was all part of becoming a survivor