Once we had arrived in London, we headed to the YHA Hostel in the city, where I had booked us into a private twin room. Once we had settled in, we went for a walk around the city, before heading the three kilometres to Australia House on the Stand, by cab, to collect Aaron’s new passport.
After collecting the new passport, which has a current photo of Aaron, which I took with my phone and forwarded to Uncle Nat, we walked along the Thames River, as far as Northumberland Avenue, until we arrived at Trafalgar Square. From there we checked out all of the amazing buildings and statues, before walking towards the Admiralty Arch and once past it we could see Buckingham Palace in the distance.
Catching a cab again, we went past Buckingham Palace, before heading back to the hostel, to relax for the rest of the afternoon, since we have a long flight ahead of us, very early in the morning departing at 6.30 am. After a stop in Amsterdam, we would be arriving at Kilimanjaro Airport at 8.15 pm local time, after a total of 10 hours of flight and a two-hour layover.
The evening was still a little warm when we finally arrived In Tanzania, and as expected, Jabali was there to meet us, and once I had made the introductions we headed out to the main car park, where I was surprised to see my own vehicle there.
“I hope you don’t mind me bringing this, I thought you may like to drive part of the way back,” Jabali said to me in Swahili, and I smiled as he handed over the keys to me. “This is my own vehicle, so I will drive some of the way, as it is over an hour before we get to the house,” I explained to Aaron, who was looking quite tired from today’s trip so far.
Aaron was soon fast asleep in the back, as I drove for home, and I ended up driving the whole way, and Afya was still awake when we arrived, and after giving me a big hug, she and Jabali carried in our luggage. Meanwhile I shook Aaron awake, and told him that we had arrived, and helped him out of the vehicle and up into the house, where Afya had a guest bedroom set up for him, while I was given the master bedroom on the top floor.
The following morning I had finished my breakfast, and was talking to Afya, when Aaron made an appearance shortly before 9 am. “Good morning, and welcome to Tanzania and to our family home,” I said to Aaron, “Hi, man that was a long trip yesterday, I am still feeling tired. How long did I sleep for?” Aaron replied.
“Including the 1 ¼ hours of driving, about ten hours, I have been up since 6am, as we had hiking guests to attend to, but they have left for their trek up the mountain,” I replied. “Wow, I must have been tired, will we be going up the mountain while we are here?” Aaron asked.
“Maybe, we will see how fit you are once we have completed a day long hike, in a day or two, have some breakfast, and relax while I am doing some work, I will be back for morning tea,” I said to Aaron, before heading downstairs to help Jabali with cleaning the cottages out the back.
When I returned to the main part of the house about an hour later, Aaron was in the kitchen helping Afya with baking some cookies and bread. “Are you having fun?” I asked seeing that he was covered in flour, “Yes, Nanny is an awesome cook and I asked if she could show me how to bake, it has been fun,” Aaron replied.
“Laundry is on and the cottages are clean Nanny,” I said in Swahili, and Nanny Afya smiled and nodded her head in understanding, as she got busy with cleaning up, with Aaron helping, and I went downstairs to relax in the garden.
“There you are, I was wondering where you got to?” Aaron said to me about half an hour later, “Yeah, I just like to relax and enjoy the gardens here, they are so restful. I thought after we have had lunch, I will take you for a drive down to the river crossing on the highway, were you can get a good view of Kilimanjaro,” I replied.
“That sounds great, but can we not see it from here?” Aaron replied, “Yes, you can see part of it, but to get a full picture of her size you need to go back down a bit to see her in full. I will take you for a bit of a drive around the area so you can see some of the countryside too, so you get a bit of a idea what it is like living in this area,” I replied.
“You said you lived here when you were young?” Aaron asked, “yes that is right up till the age of five, when we returned to Australia, I have some very fond memories of here, and I also spent a few months here after my hiking accident, a bit over two years ago, which was when I last climbed Kilimanjaro, along with Jabali and another staff member,” I said.
“Will I get to climb the mountain too?” Aaron asked, “We will see, I will take you on some hiking trips and see how you cope with the climate and long distance hiking, and if you can do that ok, then yes we will go for a climb attempt.
Just remember that it is a very long way up, and takes a few days to climb, so if you can’t make it the first time we can try again when you’re a bit fitter, next time we are in Tanzania,” I replied.
“How do we fly to Australia?” Aaron asked me, “that is a bit of a journey; we first have to fly from Kilimanjaro airport to Nairobi in Kenya, which is just a one hour flight, then a four hour flight from Nairobi to Johannesburg in South Africa. After that we have a 9 ½ hour flight from Johannesburg to Peth in Western Australia, followed by a 3 hour flight to Adelaide in South Australia, which is my home state,” I replied.
“What time do we arrive in Adelaide?” Aaron asked me, “Well we arrive in Perth at 12.05 the next day, and we have a five hour layover. Some of that time will be spent going through customs and quarantine, so we will have about a three hour break before our final flight, departing at 5.10 pm and arriving in Adelaide at 10.30 pm, local time,” I replied.
Over the next four days, I took Aaron for drives around Northern Tanzania, exploring different parts of the country, and each afternoon we took long walks, to get Aaron used to hiking, with Afya’s wonderful cooking helping Aaron to put on some more weight.
With just two days remaining of our stay in Tanzania, Jabali and I took Aaron on an overnight hike up to the first overnight hut, known as Mandara Hut, which is at 2,700 metres, and as far as Aaron could do for now, until he gets a lot more fitter and stronger. Aaron was pleased as punch for completing just one day of hiking up the mountain, with the reward of some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
Although we only climbed a distance of 8 kilometres, it took us nearly 6 hours to do the hike, and the hut is just above the top of the rainforest, where it opens up to rocky hillsides. I too found it a little difficult to climb because of my artificial foot and having pins in my legs, so I knew that I couldn’t go any further either.
Once back at the house the next day, Aaron was full of excitement having climbed part of the wa up a mountain for the first time ever, and I had made sure to take lots of photos of him during the climb, including some of him with encounters with the blue monkeys, which are common in the area.
The rest of the day was spent just relaxing and getting a load of washing done, so we could pack ready for our long two days of flying tomorrow, and I had arranged for a short tour of Nairobi as we had a three hour layover there. So, to take up some of that time, we would be doing a 90 minute bus tour of the city, before returning to the airport.
Unfortunately we would have very little time in Johannesburg, with just enough time to get from one flight to the next and a short period of waiting till we board the long flight across the Indian Ocean to Perth. We would be on economy all the way, but we are seated next to each other on one side, and we had a window and aisle seat, just ahead of the wings.
Although the journey home was very long, I was very pleased when we finally arrived in Adelaide, having cleared customs in Perth, all we had to do was collect our luggage, and we found Uncle Nat waiting for us near the Luggage collection area.
Aaron was a little apprehensive at first, as I introduced him to Uncle Nat, but on the drive home he was chatting away about all of his adventures since first meeting me on that rainy evening under the weeping peppercorn tree near the banks of the canal, which seemed a distant time ago.
Uncle Nat informed me that I had been moved, back upstairs to my former bedroom, and that Aaron would have the downstairs guest bedroom. Once we arrived home, I showed Aaron around the house, and introduced him to my two good friends Chris and Will, before we had a light snack and after a shower, we headed for bed, to catch up on some much needed sleep.
When I woke the next morning, the lads had already gone to Uni, but Uncle Nat was just finishing his breakfast, as I appeared in the kitchen. “Good morning Jacob, did you get a good night’s rest?” he said to me, “Yes thankyou Uncle, I feel much better now, I just wish I had something to do to keep me busy for the next two months, till second semester starts,” I replied.
“Well you do for the first week, I want you to make sure that Aaron gets fully settled in and spend some time with him showing him around Adelaide, and maybe suggest a few ideas for what he wants to do with his life, like maybe going to University as well,” Uncle Nat suggested.
“I will do that, meanwhile I will just wait till he wakes up. By the way; any response in regards to my report?” I replied, “Yes, I think that it was an excellent report, and no I haven’t heard from Canberra yet on their response to it,” Uncle Nat answered.
“Ok, I guess we will just have to wait and see, once they get around to reading it,” I said, and Uncle Nat nodded in response to that. “I must go, I am already late getting to work, although they do know that I will be late, so I will see you when I get home,” Uncle Nat said as he collected his briefcase and car keys and headed out the front door.
A few minutes later, as I was reading the morning’s newspaper, Aaron arrived, “Good morning, was that Uncle Nat leaving?” he said to me, “Yes, he wanted to chat to me briefly before he headed to work, now what do you want for breakfast, and are you ready for a day of exploring your new home state,” I replied.
“Yes… I guess so, what do you have planned?” Aaron replied, as I headed into the kitchen to make some toast, and to get some cereal for Aaron. “I thought we would just have a bit of a look around the city for first things, and then if you feel up to it, I thought we would stop off at the University where I study, as do Will and Chris, so you can maybe look at attending there in the new semester in July.
“Don’t forget that the seasons are in reverse down here, so we are currently in Autumn now, and the school and university years are also in reverse, with first semester starting in late February, and ends mid July, and second semester begins in late July and ends in late November.
We have about 9 weeks until the start of the second semester, where I will be returning to my studies, after taking some time off to recover from my injuries, and also the trip to the UK. I am doing a double degree in Science, so you may want to consider what you would like to do, whether it be university studies or getting a job or TAFE college studies,” I said to Aaron.
“What is TAFE?” Aaron asked me, “It is short for Tertiary and Further Education, and it is a nation wide college education system. It is sort of between high school and university, where you can study certificate and diploma courses, while in university you go for degree courses,” I explained.
“Can we look at college courses first, and maybe later I can look at doing a university course,” Aaron asked, “Sure that is not a problem, but with your school results, I think you would easily cope with doing a university course,” I replied.
Once Aaron had eaten, we caught a bus into the city, and the first thing we did was go to the TAFE College to look at possible courses that Aaron could do. When we arrived there, we were given a number of pamphlets so that Aaron could see what courses are available, and we headed outside to sit down and look at them, and to discuss what options he has.
After about half an hour of looking at the information and discussing it, Aaron came up with two possibilities, firstly a Diploma in Electronics and Communications Engineering, which is a 18 month course, or a Diploma in Business Management, which is a 12 month course.
With that decided, we returned to the administration building and asked for more information about those two courses, and if they could be started from second semester this year, which only the Engineering course could start then, so Aaron decided that he would take up that course, and maybe do the other course afterwards.
Since I still have three years of studies to go before I complete my double degrees, Aaron decided that he would like to study while I am attending university, so now he had something to look forward to doing with his future.
When we arrived back home later that day, after having a good look around the city and visiting the Adelaide Zoo, we had a swim in the pool and a game of tennis, and when the lads arrived home, they joined in for a doubles match, which was enjoyable.
As we relaxed in the lounge room, waiting for Uncle Nat to arrive home, Chris and Will told Aaron about our trips to Port Lincoln and the island that we stayed at while doing a bit of science research on all the wildlife on the island. Aaron mentioned that his late father was from that area, but he couldn’t remember the name of the place, and I reminded him that the place is called Poondindie.
“Do you know if Uncle Nat has done any checks in regards to my late father?” Aaron asked, “You will have to ask him when he gets home, but yes I think he has, just ask him,” I replied. “Just ask him what?” Uncle Nat asked as he entered from the front door.
“About Poondindie,” I replied, “Yes, well we need to have a sit down and discuss that Aaron, maybe straight after dinner,” Uncle Nat responded. “Can Jacob be there too, when you tell me please?” Aaron asked, and Uncle Nat smiled and said yes that it would be fine.
I headed to the kitchen, and I turned on the oven to get it preheated before putting the casserole in, that our housekeeper had made earlier in the day, to get it heated up for dinner, and while the lads went to shower and change before dinner, Aaron and I watched a bit of television.
Copyright August 2020 Preston Wigglesworth, All Rights are Reserved