Friday, 8 October 2010

Day 6 - 21st September 2010

Lets make the most of being here

It had been decided the night before that we would get out of the hotel and do something today. Kirsty wasn’t up to it and stayed resting in her room and with there still not being any news on Ronnie we decided to get Embesi and Rubens to take the four of us to the waterfalls in Marangu. After swearing that I wouldn’t wear my boots ever again I happily put them on and prepared for the trek down the ravine to the base of the waterfall.

We walked through a banana plantation, through a village with well presented huts, past a beautifully built church and arrived at the top of the ravine ready to trek down. It was absolutely beautiful and I felt terribly guilty that I was actually enjoying myself whilst our fellow trekkers were suffering god knows what trials up on the mountain. At the base of the ravine we made our way across the stepping stones, trying not to fall in! Both Donna and Helen got to test the waterproof status of their boots and we eventually made it to the base of the waterfall. It was stunning. The cameras came out and I felt like we were on some surreal holiday adventure. Embesi in particular seemed to be really enjoying himself and I wondered how often he got to do things like this…not often at all I bet.

After a short time we made our way back up the ravine, a little tricky at times, and headed back to the hotel and then Mamma’s for lunch. Lovely Kirsty joined us and it was good to see a smile on her face. She had left her Dad on the mountain and you could see that she was clearly worrying about him.

That afternoon we heard that Ronnie was still on his way down. The doctor had come back down to the second camp and slept there overnight, very worried about Ronnie’s health and in fact whether he was going to make it. I asked the hotel reception to inform me immediately if there was any further news, determined to go to the hospital to meet Ronnie as it was certainly no place to be on your own when you are so unwell.

It was all this stressing and worrying that prompted Donna to tell me to get a grip!
‘You’re not Mother fucking Teresa!’. From that moment on that became my nickname and I was happy to be the butt of the jokes about me not being an emotional person in ‘normal’ life. I think this trip had pretty much changed that for good!

After another trip to Mamma’s for dinner, a wonderful plate of chips and chilli sauce, the other girls headed to their room for the night. Helen and I sat in the bar and decided to order ourselves a double whilst Helen contacted Charity Challenge on the internet, trying for the umpteenth time to give them all the details needed for the insurance claim. You’d have thought we were the first people ever to be brought down from the mountain, and after all the stories we had heard over the last couple of days we knew that wasn’t true.

I’d just taken a sip from my drink when Betty came to find me to tell me that Ronnie was in reception!! I couldn’t believe it and rushed to see him. His breathing was very laboured, he didn’t look too good but he was still smiling. I was outraged to learn that he was brought to the hotel first in order to get some money to pay for the hospital. WTF!! This guy was at deaths door yesterday and here he was having to worry about money. I quickly grabbed Helen and we gathered some supplies ready for the hour and half trip to the hospital. Ronnie’s breathing seemed to ease a little as he relaxed nearing the hospital. It wasn’t just his asthma that was a problem, he had an increased heart rate too but I hoped that having myself and Helen there would help reduce his stress levels.

Once we arrived I was so glad that we had been there before. We knew the procedure. Another two hours passed waiting to be seen, the night-time casualty dept quite different from the day. There were less people but the reasons they were there were more serious. There appeared to be only one doctor. Malaria victims were still writhing about in pain but also in full view for everyone to see was a young man who had been attacked with a machete, blood pouring out all over the trolley he was laid on despite having a temporary bandage put on.

A lady brought in with pale white, pot marked skin, her face disfigured – my first experience of seeing a Leper, and worst of all a teenage girl, screaming in pain, barely able to walk, collapsing in the corridor. The doctor and nurses rushed to her and took her immediately away. We stood there shell shocked, Ronnie feeling that he was actually very well compared to the other people here.

Eventually the Doctor got round to Ronnie. He was very apologetic at the long wait. We replied that he was clearly very busy and he smiled and said this was a quiet night. He was sorry that he had to rush off before…the teenage girl had a ruptured bowel and had been raped. Her screams will be in my head for some time to come. We couldn’t wait to get Ronnie back to safety and the hotel. His heart rate was still high but Helen’s medical knowledge and the stash of anti-biotics we had between us persuaded the doctor to let Ronnie return to the hotel for some rest. There was absolutely no way we were going to let him stay there!

We made it back to the hotel for 2 am but the fun wasn't over there! Not long after the taxi had left the site I realised that I had lost my phone. Myself, Helen, Ronnie and Isaac were all scrabbling around in the dark outside the hotel trying to see if I'd dropped it getting out of the cab. It was so dark we couldn't see a thing and decided that it was probably still in the taxi. Helen came up with the bright idea of calling my phone so that the taxi driver would hear it! I couldn't believe it when I heard my phone ringing and spotted its sparkly pink case lying face down in the dirt right outside the hotel entrance, how the taxi didn't run over it I'll never know! I was so relieved to find it as it had been the only way we had any contact with Annemarie and Audra on the mountain. We then went to go into the hotel and realised that it had been locked up and we couldn't get in! At this point I think we all had a fit of giggles because it had seemed that this evening had been one thing after the other! Thankfully the little old man who had got out of his bed to open the gate to the hotel site came to our rescue again and went round the side entrance to open the door and let us in. It had been a very long day but at gone 2 o'clock in the morning we were really happy to hear Ronnie talking about food – a sure sign that his condition was improving!!

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