During phase two changeover we issued trek kit including food and tents, with the logistics team and volunteer managers briefing the trek team on the structure of the next 19 days. Alpha 1 then discussed what food and kit would be prioritised in order to distribute weight evenly throughout the group, including tough decisions about whether to bring the peanut butter! We travelled with the team from changeover in Iringa, already a few degrees cooler than Morogoro, which we were sure would be appreciated whilst trekking with heavy kit. On the bus we began to feel the energy of the team, full of anticipation for the adventure ahead. We also met Morris our trek guide along the way. The first afternoon we trekked around 7 km, getting a feel for the weight of our rucksacks, the speed of walking, and already hearing some great nature tales from Morris.
On arriving at camp each afternoon, tasks were delegated by the day leader. These included collecting water, starting the fire, digging a short drop and sign-posting the toilet (caution tape and a spade with toilet roll). Tents erected and the campfire lit, we enjoyed dinner under the stars. We were even lucky enough to be treated to an asteroid shower on the second evening narrated by venturer Marc who is completing an astronomy degree – an unforgettable experience. Over the next couple of days we took on our share of campsite tasks and took part in morning energisers (usually some much needed yoga for those tight calves and shoulders) before setting off for trek at 8am.
Learning to lead
The day leaders with the support of VMs did an excellent job of organising the camp to ensure it was safe, everyone was well fed, rested and ready for the day ahead. During the day they kept the energy high, the pace up and the snack breaks regular! Throughout our days with the team, Alistair, Orlando, Rachel and Jack were rotated as day leaders. It was a privilege to see such great leadership from kind, funny and vibrant young people who listened to one another and supported each others’ development. The team debriefs in the evening were an ideal time to reflect on the challenges of the day, whether physical (lots of hills day three and four), personal or team wide. We saw the team overcome early challenges such as keeping the group together whilst walking, with each member playing an integral role in the team dynamic.
Motivation was high throughout the trek. The group welcomed us so warmly and we had insightful, fun and inspiring moments. On day four, we reached a beautiful vantage point. It felt like such a serene way to end the few days we had spent with the team, surrounded by an abundance of nature and a sense of achievement through some hard trekking and camp site life. It was definitely a bittersweet moment as we reached Igangidungu on our fifth day. We had made great time walking and the whole team felt stronger from day one. As the car collecting us neared and we had sat down for our last trek lunch, we said warm goodbyes and wished the team continued energy, positive team work and success on the remaining days of their trek.
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