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BC professor spends vacation on Kilimanjaro

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF KRISTA MORELAND

PHOTOS COURTESY OF KRISTA MORELAND

Gaiana Latelers, Reporter

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Over the winter break, Bakersfield College professor Krista Moreland was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. This massive mountain is in an eastern part of Africa called Tanzania. Being over 19,000 thousand feet in elevation, it took Moreland and her crew over eight gruesome days to climb to its summit.

Krista Moreland is a member of the local Southern Sierra Hiking Club in Bakersfield. This is where she met Susan, a local member who proposed the idea of taking a trip to Africa. In all, the group consisted of 10 members ranging from 20 to 60 years in age.

Before beginning their trek up Kilimanjaro, Moreland and her group got to know more of Africa in the cultural center, where they found out there were over 120 different cultures in Tanzania. The group also got to go on an African safari, where they saw lions, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, and a baboon that even jumped into their jeep. These animals were quite domesticated with the locals and were not afraid of the group.

Other than Moreland’s group of 10, 20 other people accompanied them up the mountain. They had a main guide, Herment Mosha, and three assistant guides who helped lead them along the way. The others all carried the tents and the equipment they would need to set up camp along the way. This hike would take eight days of perseverance and overall willpower.

Each night, the crew that carried all the equipment and gear would get there a little early and set up camp.

That way, when Moreland and her group would arrive, food would be ready and they could relax and sleep for the long day ahead of them.

Arriving into their camp, they would be greeted with a celebration of singing and dancing, marking that each night, they had gotten closer and closer to the top.

The group would have breakfast together, and then leave by 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. to start trekking farther up the vast mountain. They would have to carry their day packs, rain gear, and any snacks or water on their backs the whole way up. Not to mention that there were no showers or bathrooms the whole trip. Moreland notes that by about 16,000 thousand feet, fatigue started to set in as the temperature dropped and the air thinned. She describes it as “a cold you can’t explain.”

One night, the group even got caught in hail. She also noted how you had to walk slowly at such a high elevation to avoid getting sick and dizzy, or even lightheaded.

Most of the crew was there watching and checking on everybody to make sure they were feeling well enough to continue up the steep mountain.

Finally, they reached the summit at about 3 a.m. to watch the sunrise. Although their group was a bit slow getting up there, they got to see a majority of the beautiful scenery at the summit of Kilimanjaro. They had an amazing view of the clouds and glaciers. But, at such a high elevation, they unfortunately could not stay too long due to a lack of oxygen.

After the two-day trek back down the mountain, the trip was an official success. Moreland and her crew were thankful to get back to their hotel and take a well-deserved hot shower. Moreland reminisces how they were gifted with beautiful weather their whole trip.

She would love to visit Africa again someday. In the end, she says it is “not just seeing things, it is bringing things back to the classroom.”

Moreland enjoys enriching the lives of her students with the diversity of different cultures. So no, in the end it is not just going to all of these different places and seeing all of these different things. It is about what you bring back from these experiences. It is the sharing of knowledge to those who want to learn, that is what is most important.

Moreland will also be taking donations of gently used jackets, shoes, socks, hats, etc., to send to those who helped her and the club on the hike up Kilimanjaro. Being in a third world country, it is not always easy to get the proper gear they need, as it wears out easily in the cold, harsh conditions of the mountain.

Any donations will be greatly appreciated, they can be dropped off at the LA building in room 209.

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BC professor spends vacation on Kilimanjaro