|Across the clouds to Mr Meru|
|Me and my floppy hat|
When we got to camp we put him in his tent, staying with him constantly, trying to comfort him while we assessed the situation and got in touch with the ops room. He was an utter star, he kept stating that he didn't want to let us down and that he felt bad that one of the teachers would have to go down with him if he 'failed!' We reassured him that we had always known that one of us would have to go down and that we'd draw straws. We joked that the prospect of a shower and the absence of dust and freezing temperatures at night was quite appealing.
For the record, we don't think he has altitude sickness. There is no doubt that his symptoms aren't helped by being up here, but they are exactly the same as in Monduli Juu.
While I was coaching him through his breathing exercises and allowing him to squeeze my hand when the pain was really bad (he says I should quit teaching and be a midwife), chatting about all manner of stupid things in an effort to distract him, my colleague was talking to the rest of the group.
Without consulting me he had informed them that he would be going down with our poorly boy. I was furious and grateful in equal measure. This was never going to be an easy decision, not least because we are good friends as well as colleagues and we both wanted the other to go up the mountain as much as we wanted to do it ourselves. I called him a shit weasel and went off for a little cry, he went off to gather his thoughts while arrangements to get them down the mountain were made.
We went for a short walk before supper, just half a mile out, gaining 100m of altitude. We sat for a while looking at the view - across the clouds to Mt Meru.Our guide asked us if we wanted a group photo. I immediately said 'No!' It feels too soon - the boys seemed to agree.