Michael Aylward

Name ID 2412

See also

Arusha School Magazine
Page Number: 20-21
Extract Date: 1956

Self-Sacrifice ~ Hidden Gold ~ Meru


As usual during the third term, six boys, six girls and six adults set off to climb Meru on December 3. As has happened before, the lorry had difficulty in getting to Olkokola, but we were not delayed long for a tractor and trailer came to our rescue.

Leaving a party behind to prepare a meal, we started climbing from Olkokola at 2.30 p.m. It was hot work walking through the forest, but the only real difficulty was in negotiating the Olmotoni valley as its sides were very slippery. We came to the camping spot above the forest at 5.30 p.m., and by the time it was dark, firewood had been collected and we were eating a nourishing meal of soup and steak. After songs around the fire we tried to get some sleep which for most of us was impossible owing to the cold.

At 4.15 a.m. after a light breakfast we left the camp and started to climb the mountain which towered above us like a giant in the dark sky. Finding the ash frozen helped us to make good progress, and by sunrise we were well ahead of the usual time and reached Luncheon Rock. Near the top, going became very difficult because of the snow and ice. However, by 10 a.m. the whole party, except one who had turned back at the crater lip, had reached the top.

Away to the East, Kibo and Mawenzi stood clear above the clouds and looking down we had a magnificent view of the crater. For a short time we were able to look down at Arusha and pick out the school, but to the West and North clouds blocked our view. By the time we left the summit the snow and ice had thawed, and it was difficult to get a foot-hold.

Just after leaving the top one of the boys was hit by a rolling boulder and had to be carried down to the base camp, and then to Arusha. After descending some thousand feet, we found the ash soft and the going was easier and we reached the camp by lunch-time.

After a rest and a meal we packed up the camp and started down the forest, and by 4 p.m. we were at Olkokola enjoying a hot Irish stew. While we had been up the mountain it had rained hard on the Olkokola road, and on our way down we found a lorry stuck in the mud. After waiting some time for the lorry to pass we arrived in Arusha, at 8 p.m.

It had been a good trip and a record number of children had conquered Meru, and though tired, everybody thought that their efforts had been well worth while.

David Phibbs Aged 12 years

Extract ID: 5685