FINALLY at Gilman’s point -210m from Africa’s highest point; Uhuru Peak-, so what the fuss is all about? it seems that the peak is within reach, yeeeeeey I’m gonna make it to the top. Hell no, I just can’t take it anymore, every part of me aches so hard, maybe I should stop for a sip of water, or energy drink? no no how about a mouthful of the strongest energy bar & a pill to kill this horrible headache, oh damn it, now my stomach hurts so bad, and my head is spinning around, what on earth is wrong with me? is it altitude sickness that got its toll on me? should I stop now before it becomes lethal? but how can I give up now? why can I barely open my eyes, am I already dead? maybe all I need is to sit on that rock over there and relax, then resume what I came for…hmmm, remind me please, what was it?
Why are my gloves all wet, and how on earth did the minus something degrees celsius find its way through my windbreaker & my 6 layers of wool and thermals? Ouuuh, here’s a rock to sit on, some hazy people are moving around looking as drained out as I am, aren’t we after sunrise? how can it be so dark or are these my eyes that cannot open anymore? It doesn’t matter because I am gonna lean on that rock now… baaaam I hit the floor hard.
Sounds of terrified people running towards me, lifting my paralyzed body before my head hits the ground, asking in worry: heeeeeey are you okay? are you conscious? what’s wrong? what happened?
– No, answer
Hitting me on the face, opening my mouth, and my eyes. Gluing my body to the big standing rock, supporting my body from the other side.
– No, response
In a deadly sleepy voice, not believing what I am about to say I responded: Don’t worry, I’m okay, I did not faint, I fell asleep.
A guy came with a can in his hand, looking for a tool to open it, poured some of its content in my mouth which turned out to be powdered glucose that tasted like red grapes, our guide Ismail asking me to tilt my head in order to help me drink some water to swallow the powder.
Ismail : Passanti, you scared me, I thought you fainted. Continuing: at this altitude, you cannot sleep it’s too dangerous.
Me half conscious pleading, starting to cry: I couldn’t control myself, I literally fell asleep. Please, I’m so sleepy, I can’t open my eyes, haven’t slept for a minute last night; I’ll lie down for 10 minutes then resume the walking.
Ismail: Listen to me Passanti, so far you’ve done so well, and I’m proud of you, you’re a very strong woman but at this point, I think that’s enough, you look so tired and I think we have to go back. I’m gonna give you a certificate, and…interrupted him in a decisive yet exhausted tone: No Ismail NO, I’m not gonna back down now, after all the effort done there is no way that I’ll go back without a trophy, without a photo at Uhuru peak, I will not accept going back telling everyone that I failed at reaching the peak, so whatever it takes I will finish that hike, I will make it to the top and take photos over there.
Ismail in disbelief: You cannot be hard on yourself, you can kill yourself and I am not gonna let you do that.
Me: Ismail I’m perfectly fine, all I need is some sleeping, if only you leave me here to sleep for five minutes I will be good to go.
Ismail: You can’t it’s dangerous and could be deadly. I’m gonna let you close your eyes for a couple of minutes, and then we will have to go. Less than 2 minutes later: Ok then, we have to go now, hold on to me until you make it to Uhuru.
Me: Please give me a hand & let’s make it to the peak.
My companion who did not show any emotions during the whole incident has told me after we finished the hike that at this very moment she thought that this is it, and that I will give up and it was time to go back, but after seeing my persistence and decisiveness she got all energized to finish that hike and make it to the peak, how awesome is that? 🙂