I set off early from Dodoma with the intention of making it to Mei Mei a small village about 40 km out of Dodoma , Small village was an understatement , on arrival at Mei Mei it turnout to be only about three huts and a tiny shop . I decided to push on to the next village which turned out to be larger but was not much better. I did not really feel like socializing as I was starting to feel a bit ill again so I pushed on. At about 2:30 pm I stopped and made some food for myself. . I then headed slowly up the mountain pass through a beautiful lush forest area. I saw a little hunter
just after 3 pm and by 6:30 pm I had not seen a soul in over three hours I decided to duck in to the bushes and set up camp. I found a stunning little clearing in some dense undergrowth and setup camp and crawled into my tent. I was feeling terrible again. Some in the forest near my tent I heard a troop of baboons going absolutely mogey. I briefly wondered what the cause was because I was told that leopards still roamed the forests but I banished that thought from my mind and went to sleep.
I slept without waking until 5 am next morning. Sleep always makes me feel better.
The police at the checkpoint which I found after about 5km the next morning were pretty shocked to see this white man come roaming out of the forest at 6 am in the morning and ask me f I had not been bothered by wild animals. The day turned out top is a pretty big day. I was met but two \vodacom technicians who donated a can of Red bull before heading on their way and then I just kept going. I can seem to keep any food in me and am feeling weak and tired a lot of the time. Eventually after 70 slow km I came to the village of Keleme , I was met but a young chap named Johnson who assured me that he had the only guest house in town . I was worn out and tire and followed him to a house that did not look like any type of guesthouse to me but I was shown to a simple room that had a decent bed. The price was more than double what I had paid before but I decided not to argue as I just wanted to sleep. I did make sure that when I handed over the money ( much to Johnson’s horror) that I did so in front of the old lady who seemed to own the house . I think the price he had told me and what she was expecting were not the same. ….hehehe…..
I pushed on to Kondoa the next morning and was feeling much better. Got to town found a really cheap place to stay called “the new white house “and settled in. I headed up to the market where I came across two student nurses from Holland. We chatted for a while and they (Geetz Floor and Aulye) showed me around the market. When I got back to the guest house the lady in charge was very excited to tell me that two” musungu” girls had put a note under my door . It was an invitation from the students to have dinner. The dinner was great and they were good company, I think they were as starved for company as I was. They had been in Kondoa for 6 weeks and had 2 weeks remaining. I headed back just before dark and my stomach cramps returned with a vengeance later that evening...
It rained that night, and rained and rained and rained. When I woke up me t was still raining so I decided to stay in bed.
But as is my impatient nature when the rain eased I hit the road ………. Big mistake.
In the next 9 hours I covered only 27 km and everything was wet and muddy, the hills were big and the mud was slippery clay and it was a really hard effort to get to the village of Kolo.
Woke up today and the first thought in my mind was “happy valentines Sam “ . It was the 14th Feb. . . . It’s amazing how the road that was a pure slip and slide had dried over night. I made the uphill haul to Berko (40 km) by midday where I met three German motor cyclists, Torstein, Oliver and Peter. They said the road improved and that I was almost at the top of the hill and then there was about 30 km of stunning down hill.
I decided at that point that today I was going to get to babati and take a rest and try and get well. The run down the mountain was awesome. The road was red clay but nice and hard and smooth as can be most of the time. By the time the day was done I had 83 km under the belt and was feeling quite chuffed. McFadden from Dodoma was in Babati when I got there and had already organized a place to stay.
We then went out (bad stomach and all) and I got nicely smashed on Kilimanjaro lager, think McFadden was not far behind me. It was a great evening.
I took the next day off.
Babati signaled the end of the dirt and I was back on tar. I head for minjingo and made it no time at all, was felling much better, although it’s very worrying why this sickness just keeps coming back, I suspect its some form of dysentery. During the morning I met Larry and Sharon from grahmstown who were on their way to Europe . It was great to chat to fellow South Africans
. The next day was no fun, just felt terrible the whole way to Makyohini.
Met an American engineer who was staying in town and he gave me some medicine that should help if I have the parasite version of dysentery.
Left early in the darkness the next morning and had gone about 5 km when a noise in the bush caught my attention, I had not seen the normal early morning traffic of people on bikes or on foot, I turned on my head lamp and shone it in the bush. I got the fright of my life when looking back at me was about 100 pairs of glowing eyes in the dark. I was pretty quick to figure out that hey were mainly Zebra and Wildebeests but if there were zebra and wildebeest then what about predators. ….. I immediately stopped running and settled into a slow and nervous walk, wishing that sun rise would hurry up.
Eventually the sun stuck its head over the horizon and I started to feel much better. I met up with Silas on his bicyle and we had a good chat , I just loved his mobile radio .
Two day later and I am arriving in Arusha. I got a message from the people at Vodacom to ask in I could meet then just outside town.
I waited at the cultural heritage museum and at 12 pm a whole bunch of people showed up. I was caught a bit off guard as the ministry of tourism in Tanzania had sent there pro person as well as a whole pile of journalist and a local TV crew.
I had some interviews and was presented with a bag of local coffee beans, a stunning wooden carving and a Masai blanket. We then set off towards the Mount Meru hotel. Nguvu Kamando from Vodacom joined me on the road, which was a blessing as I would have got seriously lost in Arusha.
We arrived to a tremendous welcome at the Mount Meru hotel and I was asked to open a bottle of bubbly with a sword. I managed this without destroying the bottle. There was a reception in the hotel where stunning snacks (real food) were served, more pictures; Vodacom had put up some banners.
I eventually got to meet max from Wild frontiers that I will see in Moshi again for the Marathon.
The team at Mount Meru went out of there way to assist me and I stayed three nights in the most stunning luxury you can imagine. I got some antibiotics and they seem top have done the trick. I can recommend the strawberry milk shake to anyone who ever stay there.
After fter i had settled in i got to have a super massage by Boby Madina from Madelona Beauty (Arusha,Tanzania)
The hotly leant me a scale on arrival and I was down to 73 kg which is a bit worrying but by the time I left I was back at 77 kg simply because I ate everything I could find . Ruben in the kitchen of the Mount Meru Hotel was real star.
On Monday 21st Feb at 8:56 am I was heading for Moshi and I saw the Mountain forteh first time ..Awesome