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Kilimanjaro 3 sCAFOD Hallam volunteer and campaigner, Mike Baldwin, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for CAFOD and Women’s Aid.  Through the generosity of his family, friends and parishioners he raised over £650, for which CAFOD are extremely grateful.  Here he tells us about his experience on this amazing adventure.‘Since working as a volunteer teacher in Tanzania from May, 1978 to December, 1980, I’d always promised myself that, if fit enough, I’d have a go at climbing to the top of Africa when I was 60.  Well it actually happened and this review is better for the delay in writing, both for my thoughts to ripen and to reflect on such a fantastic experience.

Whilst there I frequently asked the questions, “Is this really happening?”  “Am I really here?”  Now it’s frequently, “Did it really happen?”  “Was I really there?”

Kilimanjaro 4 sThe photos, bruised toes, certificate all prove it and I will be eternally grateful to “Ebony and Ivory” for providing such a memorable experience.  The pre-contacts and arrangements were first class, with accurate and valuable advice about everything we’d need, and once there we were treated as VIP guests, both on the mountain and before and after our climb, and with the safari arrangements and trips into Arusha and the airport.

Kilimanjaro 2 sKilimanjaro 1 sThe last 3 days of the 8 day Lomosho route were pretty hard but doable.  We were just very tired at the end of each day, and I really wish I hadn’t left most of my ibuprofen in the hotel!  My knees were very painful on the last day’s descent.  Diglan and Stuart gave a great balance of comfort and push throughout the climb, and their determination that I’d get to the top helped me draw on hidden reserves of stamina and perseverance.

It was also very moving for me being back in Tanzania and brought back many happy memories from my previous time there, which will always be the most memorable experience in my life.

Africa is a pretty unique and special place and, combined with climbing Africa’s highest mountain with a company so enthusiastic but so person-centred with both clients and staff, my return surpassed all expectations.  So much so that I will be returning in 2018 with my son and his friends, probably a shorter route though!  My only regret is that I didn’t spend more time with the staff during the rest periods, but this will be rectified in 2018.  One last tip, if you drink de-caff tea/coffee, bring some as you drink gallons of coffee and this, I suspect, was the main reason why I slept so badly.  Get fit and book NOW!

“Ebony and Ivory”, good for the body and good for the soul!’