Name ID 2424
Arusha School Magazine
Page Number: 20-21
Extract Date: 1955
The Meru Expedition
On 13th November, a party of fourteen children and seven members of staff set off in a lorry, at about nine o'clock, on Saturday morning for Olkokola.
We arrived there at about half past eleven and left the base party at a pyrethrum kiln where they were to spend the night. The lorry was taken further on, and after a picnic lunch we started to climb.
The forest was beautifully green with luscious ferns, lilies and everlasting flowers. The trees were clothed with old man's beard and there were many open glades where we rested at frequent intervals. As we pressed on, the land gradually grew steeper and it started to rain, but as the trees began to thin out, we stumbled up an ashy slope to arrive at our camping place, at last.
After a brief rest, we all started to collect firewood for the night, and the eagerly awaited supper was cooked. After drying our wet socks and shoes, we lay down by the fires with three blankets each, and sang some songs before going to sleep.
The next morning at about half past four, after an uncomfortable sleep, we had breakfast, put on all extra clothes and each with a bottle of water started off up the steep slopes.
We plodded on, and at sunrise were approaching the rocks just below the scree. As the sun rose over the mountain, the shadow was thrown over the land and we saw the peak projecting above the horizon. It was a sight well worth seeing.
We clambered on over the rocks which rolled beneath us, and when we reached the bottom of the steep slope of scree, three children had decided to descend.
Starting to climb the scree, we slipped and slid as the stones gave way beneath us. At last, reaching the top, we sat down for a rest.
Now above us rose great mounds of rocks and boulders, to the left of which was a slope covered with snow. It was bitterly cold. I took a pair of socks from my haversack and put them on my hands which were quite numb.
After the remaining members of staff had taken some photographs, we started to pick our way across the rocks which were slippery with ice and snow. Would we ever reach the top?
Suddenly, we heard shouts from the people above and we shouted back, asking them if they were at the top. "No", they answered, "We can't find it." So we told them to wait for us, and plodded on.
The Headmaster, who was with us, reached the crater and called down to me, but I was so tired and was having a rest every few steps. Mr. Hamshere called down once more, and I got up and stumbled on. The whole time I was saying to myself, "I must do it, I simply must." I thought how proud my mother would be; this seemed to give me extra energy and I at last arrived at the crater where I flopped down, exhausted.
After a while Mr. Hamshere asked me if I wished to go on, and I immediately got up, ready to carry on. Just as we started to climb the last lap, we met the first lot of children coming down, and I met my best friend who told me she had reached the top. This made me even more determined and I hurried on. Having clambered over rocks and snow, Mr. Hamshere showed me a peak where a few Africans were sitting. It was the top.
At last, clambering over the last rocks, we arrived at the top. How pleased I was and, shaking hands with Mr. Hamshere, I reached for my water bottle and biscuits and had a long drink and a snack. Then the Africans handed us the book, which was in a tin under a rock, and we wrote our names. We did not have a good view as there were clouds beneath us, and peeping down the crater we had glimpses of the steep sides through the cloud.
Mr. Hamshere then took some photographs, and we started to descend the slopes of rock. When we reached the crater, we lay down and almost went to sleep, as we waited for the last two members of staff who had gone on to the top. When they arrived, we arose and descended through the snow, loose snow and, later, the ash, a slightly different way from the way we went up. I was so tired and my knees were so shaky that I thought I would fall. We had many rests stopping at the everlasting flower bushes and picking bunches for our friends at school.
At last, at three o'clock, we arrived at the camp, having arrived at the top at a quarter to twelve. How we all wished that we could go up in the little time it took to come down.
We were given slices of pineapple and soup when we were all back at the camp and then, after all the porters had been sent down, we started down through the forest to arrive at the place where the lorry had been left, at about five-thirty.
On reaching the glade we found Mr. Mahon waiting for us, with a Pepsi-Cola each. What a lovely treat and ending to our expedition! Then, clambering into the lorry we set off for school, singing songs and chattering to each other. On arriving at school everyone was most surprised to hear I had conquered Meru and, after telling the story about three times, I at last went to supper.
After. I had a very hot bath, I climbed into , bed, very tired and wondering how I had ever conquered Meru.
Vivien Landcastle, Age 12 years
Arusha School Magazine
Page Number: 20-21
Extract Date: 1956
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
Arusha School Magazine
Page Number: 02-03
Extract Date: 13 December 1956
The Speech Day proceedings opened on a hot afternoon with the usual P.T. Competion and Displays. After the visitors had been entertained at the now famous Arusha School Tea, everybody squeezed into the Assembly Hall —and it is a squeeze these days — for the Speeches and Prize Giving.
In the absence in Australia of the Warden, Bishop Stanway, Mr. A. T. Bewes, O.B.E., took the chair. After a brief introductory speech, Mr. Bewes called on the Headmaster to make his Report.
In his speech the Headmaster mentioned that the number of children had crossed the 300 mark for the first time in the School's history and that there were 122 day children which was a record. The health record had been good as the year had passed without an epidemic.
"In the classroom I think the greatest advance has been in the opening of Kindergarten II half-way through the 1st Term. It fills a need we have felt for over two years and should help forward enormously those day children who join us at the age of five. By the end of Kindergarten II a bright child will be very nearly as advanced as those formerly leaving Standard I, with the result that the syllabus can be extended and the standard of work raised. And here I should like to digress and say how encouraging :t has been to receive progress reports of former pupils now at school in the United Kingdom, who have been found to be quite up to, and in some cases ahead of, children of their own age educated at home. This, of course, refers to bright children only and bears out what I have always said: that provided a child starts school at five out here and suffers no serious interruptions, our schools in Tanganyika give him as good a primary education as he can find at home."
"We have taken our last Kenya Preliminary Examination. It would have been gratifying to have been able to tell you that the results were the best we have had, but this was not to be and I expected it. Because it was the last chance for Tanganyika children to qualify for admission to Kenya Secondary Schools, we entered all who had the faintest chance of being accepted, with the result that four out of five girls have been offered places and two out of four boys. Margaret Masson did very well, being placed 7th out of 379 girls who sat, with 453 marks out of a possible 600."
"Out of the classroom we have been as busy as usual, with Concerts, the Elocution Contest, Games and Swimming. It was unfortunate that the Inter-School Sports had to be cancelled this year, but we at last succeeded in arranging a visit from the Nairobi Primary School. Twenty-five of their children spent the Easter week-end with us and engaged in a series of Hockey Matches and a Swimming Contest with us. The visitors were successful in everything, but we were unashamed and learnt a lot from our friends.
"One tennis court has been put into commission this term, and the second is nearly finished. Now we should like come help in coaching tennis from residents of Arusha! Riding is flourishing and there are at present six horses in our stables. I am most grateful to Mrs. Sykes for the help she has given with riding lessons this term. If anybody else would like to help, their assistance too would be greatly appreciated.
"We have a rather diminished Guide Company, two Brownie Packs and a Pack of Wolf Cubs. Once again our thanks are due to Mrs. McClement and Miss Ann Lovell for their great help with the Guides.
"This year our Meru Expedition scored a 100% success with all 13 children reaching the summit, the first time this has been achieved. We were lucky with the weather, enjoying perfect climbing conditions. We were greatly helped as usual by Mr. Mahon and the Olkokola Syndicate, and in particular Mr. Sekunda who lent his house to our base party. We thank him and Mr. Mahon most warmly.
"But the greatest event of the year was the visit in October of H.R.H. Princess Margaret. Of all the people in Arusha, I think our children received the greatest thrill, for not only did we share in all the public functions — we were privileged to have Her Royal Highness to ourselves for a precious quarter of an hour, and in being the only European School in East Africa to be accorded this honour we are very proud indeed. I know the children will long remember the sight of the gracious, utterly lovely and superbly regal figure that passed through this Hall. I am sure that the hands of the lucky few who were presented still tingle and 1 know that all our hearts are warm as the result of the Royal Visit."
The Headmaster referred to the addition of the new Staff Room and Art Room. He paid a warm tribute to the Staff, although as far as weddings were concerned he regretted to announce that they had not done as well as in 1955. He also congratulated the children on their excellent behaviour and thanked the parents of all children for their great co-operation.
Mrs. J. V. Shaw, wife of the Acting Provincial Commissioner, then presented the Prizes.