Urhobo Historical Society



Wilson Edojarievwe Orhiunu

MBBS (Benin). FRCS. FRCSI.MRCGP. DRCOG

(Alias: BabaWilly)

 

Travelogue on Climbing Kilimanjaro

 



(Editor’s Note: Wilson Orhiun, an Urhobo medical doctor,lives and practises his profession in Birmingham, United Kingdom. His travelogue is presented in a mixture of standard English and humorous Nigerian Pidgin English. The Pigdin English rendition is presented here in italics, with translations into standard English in instances where explanation is called for.)



Introduction

 

I am currently reading a book entitled – The Call for a Performing Generation by Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock Church, Lagos, Nigeria. I guess I am the first person to take up the challenged posed by this book up.

 

Kilimanjaro. An interesting  fact - the Logo of Rock Publishing (Publisher) looks like a book hewn out of one face of Kilimanjaro. This book seems written for me.

 

On day 2 of our climb I was in my tent reading a House on the Rock book while listening to Hillsong on my MP3 player (on top Kili the big volcanic rock); how ironic.

 

Chapter 2 of the book – What’s in a name – talks about how our names and .the names given us by our fathers hunt us down.  Joseph the dreamer was used throughout the book as the prime example.

 

I identified with the book because my father’s name was Jacob and that name got mentioned a few many times in the book. Jacob’s name was changed to Isreal and the rest is history.

 

My mother’s name is Charity and I find myself doing charity work.

Enough perambulation. Now,to the gist.

 

Why Kilimanjaro

 

I was watching God TV when an old man said, ‘It’s like climbing Mount Everest, not many people do that.’ I cannot remember what he was even talking about but the words stuck like glue on my brain.

 

As Everest is too much wahala1, I decided to practice with Kilimanjaro.

I didn’t know where to start. I read an article on a Doctor who was planning the journey to Kilimanjaro and noticed in the article that he was going with – Discover Adventure (DA) and so I gave them a ring.

 

Preparation

 

Fitness: A good level of fitness is advised. DA sent out an exercise programme of daily walks etc. I didn’t use their programme as I was on my own fitness regime. I was later to find out that altitude is no respecter of fitness.

 

Clothing: A full list of clothing materials is provided (akin to the boarding house list used in Naija2). List includes sleeping bag, sleeping mat, waterproofs, jackets, thermals, trekking trousers, warm hat and gloves, cap, Sun block (I been think say black man no need am; (see pictures), whistle, water bottle, torch light, head etc. All expensive. A good walking boot is a must. Underwear and socks must be changed daily.  The maxim to bear in mind is -  you look after your feet and your nyarsh at all times (excuse my French).

 

Language: Swahili is the main language, although a lot of Tanzanians speak English. Shahili words to know are-

Jambo- Hello or Goodbye

Asante Sana- Thank you

Pole pole – Sowly slowly

I actually bought a CD with songs with these titles which I can e-mail to anyone who wants it on MP3 format

 

Charity: I did it for Sense and my target was £5000, although they  expect a minimum of £2,5000. I intend to pass any surplus to the Deaf school in Lagos.

 

Risk limitation: First to bear in mind is you only die once. Next is to ensure life insurance is in order (in case of incapacity!). Then there are the immunisations. I chop needle sotey my hand bend3. I took Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B (not required for trip but mine had ran out), Typhoid, Tetanus and Diptheria, Yellow fever and Meningitis C. On top of that I come nak4Malaria tablets- Lariam (fit make person craze5) and Diamox for altitude sickness prophylaxis ( I no sure say the thing work6).

 

History in the making: No one in my native village has climbed Kilimanjaro before now, although rumour has it that some witches did a symposium there in 2003. One cannot authenticate their claims so to all intents and purposes I am the first native son of Ukuagbe to reach  Kilimanjaro. E ! Eyeeee! Or should I say Halelu ! haleluyahh!

 

THE JOURNEY

 

Outbound Friday, 7 October 2005

 

Drove from Birmingham to Q-Park long stay, Bath Rd, Yaba, Heathrow, and left my car there for 10 days. Took shuttle to Heathrow Terminal 3 and boarded 21.50 hrs flight to Addis Ababa via Rome.

 

The flight arrived 9.05hrs next day. E bi laik saw Ethiopian Air no like Naija man. The pilot put serious heater on or perhaps Nepa take light for where their aircon dey. Na heat dem take finis us all. Headache plus vomiting – all join. In the heat I had to make corrections on my poetry collection – My time as I needed to e-mail corrections back to Birmingham from Addis Ababa. I will not forget that flight. When mai moni come una no go ever find Babawilly for economy lai lai7

Saturday 8-10-05 12.40hrs depart Addis to Kilimanjaro via Nairobi (na so we dey pick up passenger laik say na Molue8 we dey). Finally arrived by 16.40 hrs.

 

Tanzania

 

Airpoort in Arusha and we travel 1 hour to Ameg Lodge in Moshi. Nice fenced compound with 2 gate men. E bi laik na Warri we dey only say Nepa and armed robbers no dey here.

 

The drive from the airport to the Lodge went through various shanty towns. It felt odd driving past African poverty as me sef black laik dem.  I see my people dey suffer. Suffer dey Africa paparapa… so the song goes.


Meet my room mate for the night- Steve, a teacher from Leeds. We would be sharing a tent for the whole trip. I introduced myself and informed him  I snored for England. We switched on the television and it was Angola versus Rwanda. Fifteen minutes later Nigeria was not going to the world cup in Germany. Was a way to start! Persin wan cry but shame no gree me.

 

 We arranged our stuff into 3 parts. One to be left behind at Lodge – including spare clothes, passport and wallet. The second was the rack sac to be carried daily containing water , toilet roll, medicines etc and finally the night bag- a second rack sac which is carried by the porters. PORTERS! PORTERS! I say suffer dey Africa paparapa…..

 

 

PORTERS

 

Must stop to yarn about the porters. 2face talk say ‘me I get plenty things to yarn about eyee’. Well, he is not the only one. This trip is impossible without the porters. Naija man lacking in political correctness will call them ‘Agbero.'9

For the 30 of us on the trip there were about 60 porters in all. They go before us in the morning to set up lunch. After the meal dem go wak chop remain,10 pack up and race to the night camp. Once there, they set up the tents for sleeping and the 2 main dining tents.

 

Then they assist the cook with preparation and serving of supper. After meals they provide water for our bottles and clear up. Next morning they wake us up by bringing hot drinks – a choice of Milo, coffee or tea. Then they help with breakfast before dismantling the tents. Everyone then piles their second bag in a central point for the porters to carry. During the day they make detours to streams to keep up the water supply. 90 people drinking 4 litres a day plus cooking and washing requirements is a lot of water fetching!

 

On about day three up the mountain some poor guy is sent back down to get fresh fruits and vegetables. He then returns to the next camp with his load.

 

Suffice to say at the end of the trip we ll contributed $ 70 each to be shared amongst the tour guides and porters. As levels dey , na he one wey tour guide chop remain e go give porter , abi no bi Naija talk say wetin concern Agbero with over load?

 

Walahi I go wake Bobby Benson make e come re-record im hit. Na so we go dey sing am-

 

If you marry Kili Porter

I don’t care

If you marry Kili Porter

I don’t care

If you marry Babawilly

God bless you

If you marry Babawilly

God bless you.

Eee! Eyeee!

 

THE BRIEF

 

Still 8-10-05. After dinner Ray, our Oga pata pata11, ex- soldier and now a Paramedic gave us the ‘rules’. A bit like Brad Pitt in the ‘The Fight Club’ or should I say like RMD in em, em, em- me I no too dey watch Nollywood sef, OK like RMD in Violated 1 ,2 or  3. Na wa.

 

Rules are you don’t overtake the lead guide, if you wan piss12 for bush tell persin before you disappear make dem wait, if you must, (how do I say this without causing offence) do No 1+1 then you can leave the deposit behind the rock but the tissue paper must return with you. Simple reason is that above the tree line toilet paper and any other litter will remain for many years to come. E bi laik make you put yua dorti tissue paper for fridge, Tuffia!.  Everyone was given a ‘black bag’ to store their used tissue paper. Na that time persin come talk say we dey lucky. Im friend tell am say for some trip wey dem go, both tissue paper and deposit had to be kept till they came dowm. Chenike! As everything for rack sack dey plastic bag what if persin mistake toothpaste bag for…… Abeg e don do.

 

Other rules were: drink 4 litres a day, look out for each other, and eat as much as possible.

 

Doctor come brief us- anybody wey dey take melesin make e hands up or forever hold im piss (excuse the pun). E talk say if anyone collapse for top of mountain, no bi dat time you go come talk say you be Hypertensive. Small small everybody begin talk wetin dem been no declare for medical form.

 

 

Treking starts!

 

Sunday 9-10-05

 

Car ride  to Machame Gate. We walked up for 5  hours through forest and camped at Machame Camp at 3100m. Una sabi say I be London and Niger delta pickin. All na sea level. 3,100m high o! Na yam?!

First mistake- felt sorry for porters and carried almost 13kg in my rack sack. Persin wan die! Tomorrow will carry as little as possible.

 

Night was cold. Shared tight tent with Steve. Both of us long pass [taller than the width of] the tent. See suffer as persin bend knee as space no dey to extend leg.

 

Monday 10-10-05

 

My first birthday on a mountain! This very time in 1964 my mama was still pregnant.

 

Sweet mountain, I mean sweet mother

I no forget you

For the suffer I dey suffer, I mean suffer wey you suffer for me o!

 

The group sing the happy birthday song to me at breakfast. How kind of them. No cake though.

 

We climb onto Shira plateau walking for 5 hours.

 

We camp at Shira caves; 3,840m. During the day while walking one switches to automatic pilot. You just keep on walking, hour after hour with eyes fixed on the path. The tour guides encourage with ‘pole pole’. On the small track we keep left when porters approach. They walk with the strength and agility of mountain goats. Some dey even smoke join.

 

Tonight it rained all night. I shivered to nonsense. By 2am I when out to wee. When I turned round all the tents looked the same. Chineke! Who send me this Kilimanjaro wahala? If you climb wrong tent, woman scream you, don become rapist be that. Na so I dey shiver for darkness with head torch for head laik South African miner till I find my tent come zip am open. See smell of boots wey greet me. Chai!

 

Tuesday 11-10-05

 

Another birthday, this time Kim. We sang at the breakfast table. All my body ached and there was no appetite. Ray the oga encouraged us to eat for fuel. Me wey I no dey chop breakfast for house. Dem come sef one kain Oats eh. The thing be like a hybrid of Ogi and Popo garri (tapioca). Man chop but nausea follow. For some reason I assumed mobiles and transitor radios will not pick up signals. Na lie. People were texting and receiving calls. You could even listen to the news in Swahili,   (Understanding am na different thing).

 

As we come dey waka forest finis13 we enter moorland. All the A3 in geography  wey I take shine for St Finbarr’s Akoka begin return to my Okuta Oblongata (Na real grade, no expo). African rift valley system, collision of the African and Eurasian continental plates. E bi laik I don take all the knowledge drink garri. Na the Bible knowledge one sweet me pass ojare. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, case closed.

 

We walked past moorland into a lunar desert. Rocks, dust and more rocks. There was a strange looking plant, Like Palm tree which suffered Kwashiokor. Shunts trunk with leaves at the top – Senecio Kilimanjari.


 Reminded me of all those cowboy films. When I was young I wondered why cowboys woke and climbed their horses without taking baths. Shebi none of us don baff [bath]. Nobody dey baff onto mountain o! No wonder Moses vex when im reach down dey hear hip hop music. Forty days of suffer. No be say im get porter to dey carry im load. Na commandment e dey write , no chop. Chai!. If na Babawilly I for homicide Aaron one time, break all the tablet of stone on im cranium make e see as e sweet. Golden calf ko golden delicious ni.


Orhiunu at a Kilimajoro Glazier


 

Anyway, we walked up to the ‘lava tower’ at 4,800m (for acclimatisation) and walked back down to Barranco Hut at 3,900m). Talk about the grand old duke of York! Which kind yawa be this?  Going down I lost co-ordination and gave my bag to a porter called Freddy who looked sixty. He had to carry a rucksack on his back and another on his chest. E dey smile as e sabi say I go do something for am.


That evening I was extremely tired. The group doctor came over for a quit word. He felt I was struggling and may have to send me down if things didn’t improve tomorrow. I was disappointed but wetin man go do?

I slept well that night and was reciting a song to myself through the night:


Those who wait on the lord, shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up with wings as Eagles. They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.

Lord I wait, Lord I wait on you.


That night I dreamt I was in a battle with a vampire-like creature. Suffice to say  I brutally stabbed it through the heart. (God punish wicked people dem/ Holy Ghost fire burn dem!).

 

Wednesday  12-10-05.


Orhiunu at Kilimajoro Glacier


Today na today
. Before us was Barranco wall! A huge climb. First we descend into a ravine then started the rocky tiresome climb. I had fire in my belly today. Scree formed  the terrain. Now when I sneezed onto my white tissue paper it was full of dusty catarrh. The temperature slowly started to drop as we gained height. The views were fantastic. Today I got really scared. It was at kiss the rock time. Here the path came to a point where a big bolder stuck out. You held a rock with your left hand then swing your hand and foot across to the other side then get pulled up. If you fell backward at the point, it’s all over. We all kissed the rock successfully. It was interesting to come to a stream to stock up on water. The Glaciers at the top melt and provide a constant stream. Without the streams climbing the mountain will prove difficult. We put Puritab tablets in the water 30 minutes before drinking. It tastes like drinking out of Federal palace hotel’s swimming pool.

 

  We walked for about 8 hours to  Barafu camp at 4,600m. Na here trouble start.

 

The plan was to have supper and sleep for 3 hours then wake up at midnight for the all night walk towards the summit. Dressing for the summit meant layers and layers of clothing which we all slept in.

 

By the time we were woken up at 12.10am I never even entered gear one of sleep. Bodi no bi fayawood!

 

Thursday 13-10-05; 12.30am

 

With head torch in place we started the walk towards the summit in darkness. One had to fix one’s yes on the path as a wrong step could mean injury. By about 5 a.m. I began to wane. By 6.30am the journey was over for me. I was going so ‘pole pole’ I had to stop. Ray our oga tried his best to urge me on but I was just to nauseous and exhausted. A porter was found to take me down. The sun was rising over mount Meru and it began to warm up my frozen toes. I told the porter whose name was Whitey to give a chance to rest. He advised we go back down due to the –10C temperature. Inactivity will make us hypothermic. Na lie. Man nak rack sac as pillow begin dose. Next minute I was vomiting profusely. Better out than in as they say. I dosed and froze for 1 hour then began the  climb down stopping to catch my breath every 10 minutes. I tried my water bottle and it was half frozen. After a drink my temperature dropped and I started to shiver.

 

 Whitey offered to hold my hand and I refused. E neva bad reach so.

We walk down for a few hours and it soon became obvious I couldn’t make simple decisions such as where best to place my foot when faced with different stones.

 

Whitey took my hand and led me like a child. We got to Mweka camp at 3,000m and I promptly fell into deep sleep. I soon woke up and began to cry. I have too many problems in this life. How can I get so close and have to turn back? Is that not like walking over to success and taking a photograph with it but not actually achieving it? At least my pickins14will know the direction of success (what ever success means) as their Papa don show dem, I thought to myself in consolation. But to be lead down like a child. Nobody has held my hand and lead me anywhere for years. Not since that riot broke out when I won MR Uniben in 1983 (or was it 1984?) and had to be smuggled out of the main auditorium at Ugbowo campus to escape flying bottles. I still remember lying on the floor of Chinaku’s car. (Me sef, I be coward sometimes o!). Then there was my late father who lost his sight and had to be lead like a child. I cried for all my problems then dosed.

 

The rest of the group came back and we were all too ill for super. There was so much leftovers tonight.

 

I slept very well at Mweka camp tonight.

 

Friday  14-10-05.

 

Today O!

I will lift up my hands in praise

For I know

You are always there for me

Almighty God

You are my all in all

No matter what I face

When trouble comes my way

I will praise you Lord.

 

This Wale Adenuga wey write this song. May God bless am well well.

In good spirits today. Having breakfast when a scream rent through the air. We saw a group of porters running down hill with a strecher held up high. On it was a White lady in her early fifties screaming. Suddenly it went silent.

 

I wondered if she had broken a leg. Our two group doctors ran off to see what was going on. Next minute there was a frantic rush for the medical bag. I left the table with another nurse.

 

It looked bad. A cardiac arrest at 3,000m. Work start. All the camp watched from afar as we battled for almost half an hour or so to bring back this woman to life. I have seen many deaths during my medical career but this one was painful. I have my sun glasses on so I could cry some more in peace. I was absolutely drained. Just who sent me message? All my problems seemed so far away (as Beatles talk). I just dreaded to think that someone will ring her relatives with this news. It was too much for me. I just put on my headphones and listened to Micheal W Smith. That one sef wan make person cry more.

 

Brief

 

Ray our oga gathered the group and explained what had happened. It was time to go down. The mountain operates a one way system You go up an ascent route which differs from the descent route. This makes sense as some of the paths are quite narrow.

 

Going down hill was not easy. My toes were squashed at the front of my boots and painful blistered ensued. The thought of Ameg Lodge spurred me on. It was down through beautiful forests to Mweka Gate where lunch awaited. Most didn’t eat as we all wanted to get back.

 

It was nice to be back in the real world again. In the Lodge we had a welcomed shower. My neck was well burnt. That night was the celebration dinner and award of certificates.

 

When I see the certificates of those wey reach Uhuru peak wey say- congratulations for reaching Africa’s highest peak then come look my own wey say - this is to certify that Dr W Orhiunu attempted the highest peak in Africa- my eye come red. Attempted ko attempted ni.

Me I dey go back next year! (And I need a big Naija sponsor like Glo or MTN or or or … )

That night I stayed in and read The call to a performing generation till 2am. The passion of the Christ came on. The beating scene fear me. I know say na acting but make comot face after a while. I learnt a lot tonight.

 

Saturday 15-10-05

 

Off to Moshi town for gifts but first we had to change money. When with Ruth, Carol and Douglas from Glasgow.  We looked like JJCs in town. Found a bureau de change and changed at $1 to 1000 Tanzania Shillings. Local guys no gree us rest. Everyone had something to sell. I got gifts and music and then it was back to the hotel. Packed as we get up 3am for flight back. Goodbyes to those staying behind for Safaris and extended holidays. A few staying back for charity work.

 

Sunday 16-10-05

 

Up at 3am. In the coach at 3.30am. Got to airport and had to sit around after checking in.  Then its take off  at 6.20am to Daressalam (like Molue to pick up passengers) which is south. We then come back past Kilimanjaro to Nairobi. Then it is off to Addis Ababa. We arrived at 10.45am. Hung around the internet café at the airport till take off by 12.50 pm . Off  we got to London via Rome. We wasted about 40 minutes in Rome before heading to London. Touched down by 9pm.

 

Got to Q Park Long stay car park and was sitting in my car by 10.30pm. Walahi, I had forgotten how to drive but ‘pole pole’ I made it home.

 

 

 

Dr Wilson Orhiunu

Babawilly

Babawill2000@yahoo.co.uk

View Pictures of trip on http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/2040682

On line donations to Sense on http://www.justgiving.com/mount2climb

Or Post cheques to Dr W Orhiunu. PO Box 12835. Sutton Coldfield. Birmingham. B73 9ED.

 

Quoted Music from

Bobby Benson- Taxi Driver

Fela Anikulapo- Army Arrangement

Prince Nico Mbarga- Sweet Mother

2Face Idibia- Nfana Ibaga (No problem)

Wale Adenuga (Fountain of Life)- Today O.

 

Acknowledgements

 

Thanks to all who made my trip possible. God bless my children who constantly inspire me to be the best that I can be.

 

Thanks Eddy Arouture  for the Tanzania Visa forms, all my patients for their love and concern, (dem fear say I fit no return), Shelagh for the extra bag, Sutton Coldfield News, Sutton Coldfield Observer, Richard Webb of Birmingham Airconditioning Ltd for paying for my mountain clothing, Doctor Magazine, Resurection Life Assembly Birmingham for love and prayers and God almighty for saving my bacon up that mountain.

 

God almighty na you bico!

 

 



 


Endnotes (supplied by editor)


1  Wahala is Nigerian Pidgin English for "too much trouble."

 

2 Naija is Pidgin English for Nigeria

 3 Nigerian Pidgin expression for: My hand was sore from numerous injections.

 
4  Nigerian Pidgin English for “I took quite a bit of malaria tablets.”

 

5 Pidgin English for “This could make one insane.”

 

  6 Pidgin English for “ I am not even sure this medication wa effective.

 

7 If ever I have the financial means in the future, I will avoid the discomfort of economy class in air travel.

 

8 Molue is a wretched vehicle that plies bus routes in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

9 “Agbero” is Nigerian Pidgin English that has the approximate meaning of  “carriers.”

 

10 dem go wak chop remain: “they will eat whatever is left from the meals.”

 

11 Oga pata pata: “the head of the team.”

 

12Piss: Nigerian Pidgin English for urinate

 

13As we come dey waka forest finis: “ Following the trek across the forest, “

 

14 Nigerian Pidgin for “children.”




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