I hope everyone is well, healthy and happy.
I have been settling back into clinic over the last few weeks after my trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. It is very hard to put into words how the experience made me feel and the profound effect it has had on me, but I will try!
The first thing I have learnt is how I can cope under extreme circumstances. The walking was tough from day 1, the camping was hard as it was -15C most nights and living on the mountain for 15 days was completely out of my comfort zone. Summit night was probably the worst night of my life and it took a lot of mental strength, probably more than the physical strength, to drag myself up to the summit. It is also a reminder to me of the amazing things our bodies can do and to be grateful for that.
It was so satisfying to be part of Choose a Challenge who sent 300 students to the mountain to raise money for charity. It was definitely fulfilling being part of their journey and helping certain students’ summit with medical intervention and helping others fulfil their dreams. There were a few emergencies which again put me out of my comfort zone as treating someone who can’t breathe at 4000m is very different to my day job! The most surreal moment was drawing up injections in a dark tent in the middle of the night lit by only my iPhone.
An important thing I will mention is the spirit of the Tanzanian people. These are people who give their all to their job and always meet you with such cheerfulness and generosity of spirit. I have never experienced anything like it before. I felt so looked after, safe and felt more looked after than I ever have! The country is beautiful, and the mountain has an energy which is really peaceful. Tanzania and Kilimanjaro will always have a special place in my heart!
The biggest lesson I learnt from this trip personally was not to see boundaries or place confines on myself. Literally putting one step in front of the other, no matter how slowly, will get you to your destination, just focus on the journey and have some faith.