Wednesday 25 April – ANOTHER INTERNET VISIT AND POPPIS IS UNWELL

After slowly and lazily opening my eyes I turned a turn to where I usually hang my watch so I can easily look at the time when I wake up. I just realized I had slept whole night with very few waking up times.

A helicopter flew by my tent very loud. It turned out it was carrying supplies for a different company with a little stuff for our camp. Without any knowledge there was DHL envelope sitting in the dining and everyone was wondering it was his or hers. I caught the conversation about the DHL envelope as I was walking toward the dining tent and Caroline mentioned that it is for Wilfred. She went ahead, grabbed it and handed it to me. It was incredible moment for me. It was a banner from Sheikh Waleed Zahid of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to take to the summit for a photo and to be signed.

Right away after finishing my cup of tea I advanced to the dining room for breakfast.  As on other mornings breakfast was either toast, beans, fried egg with cereals and yogurt or pancake or bacon with cereals and yogurt or French toast, bacon with cereals and yogurt.

I listen around for the weather news, which wasn’t going to be announced till after lunch. I calculated that there is a great chance of leaving the next day, early morning.  I decided to go to Gorak Shap for a walk, Internet and buy Ncell recharge cards. I said goodbye to the guide just to make him aware of my absence and that I was going to Gorak Shap. I left camp at 10.35am and was there by 11.50am. I did a few things online and the connection started to slow down. While I am there I saw two African guys and they kept moving in and out the restaurant I was in. I just looked at them and finally one of them walked towards me and in English he said “Hi!” and I said “Hi!” He continued, “Where are you from?” I said “Tanzania!” He said “I am from Tanzania as well” Then I said Mambo vipi, it real felt weird speaking Swahili and people around us started looking at us wondering what language we were using. He continued in Swahili ‘Where in Tanzania?’ I said in Swahili, ‘Moshi. He started to smile and asked ‘Where in Moshi? Now I didn’t wanted to go so deep before I knew who this gentleman was and I replied, ‘Just around town. Then his face started to become familiar as he was describing himself after I had politely answered all his questions.

He knew me from having seen me together with Fredrick Chikima, the first Tanzanian to have climbed Mount Aconcagua in Chile. I only knew him by face. We carried on with our discussion in Swahili and his fellow came and joined us greeted each other in Swahili. It turned out that they were only trekking to Base Camp. They were with a friend from the UK. I told them about me climbing and already been to 6800 metres. They all look flabbergasted and asked if there had ever been a Tanzanian to do it. I told them I could be first one to go to the summit.

We said goodbye to each other as they were going to climb Kalapata. I finished my business and started the journey back to Base Camp. I walked very slowly without any rush and was back by 4.15pm. I went straight to the community tent and reported that I was back and would probably have a sleep before dinner. This was to make sure they wouldn’t go looking for me.

Mike was on the phone and looked like he was having a serious conversation.  He hung up and said, ‘Just to let you know Poppis isn’t well and we are arranging a helicopter to pick him up today or tomorrow morning. For a moment I couldn’t say anything. I was shocked because he was last person I expected to have to prematurely end his trip. I asked what had happened. Mike said he had been found with a T I A, which is an early stage of a stroke” I was speechless for a while then we kind of looked to each other Mike, Caroline and I.  We all felt so sad about it but could do nothing since it was medical matter. It was best for him and everyone else for him to go down, whether he was going to get better or not. I wanted to go to see him and they said it was best for him to be in peace.

I walked past Neil’s tent and had chat with him about the whole scenario. He was sad as well for what happened to Poppis. He explained that at breakfast he said to that he didn’t feel well and Neil had asked him if he had drunk enough water over previous day. He had said that he had drunk at least 3 litres. He said same thing to Peter and Peter recommended he went to see the doctor. I guess he didn’t until lunchtime when there was big avalanche and someone went to his tent to borrow his big binoculars and they found him very unwell. That’s when the guides and the Sherpa took him to the medical tent for a check-up and then treatment began.

I went to my tent and lay down for a while before dinner. At dinnertime something was missing and it was Poppis. One day he said he had the best chocolate from anywhere in the world. He promised to bring some later, and at this time he sent them all to the dining room. We all liked them. He gave away as well his Finnish soups that I was hoping he was going to use at camp III.

Again we were not leave for our second rotation on 26April, as the weather report wasn’t looking good enough to go. So we spent another day at Base Camp almost doing zero effort activity.

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