Madame Ovary's Pelvic Trust

A story about a girl who, on a whim, decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity.

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I was fortunate enough to meet with women who had climbed mountains before, so I collected valuable nuggets of information about seemingly gross things like infections, menstrual cycles, and, well, peeing in the wild. Read on if you have the stomach…
Your face: Bring with you some toner and some cotton as a substitute for washing your face since there is no access to water. Walking long hours in volcanic ash/dust means you will get it all over your face, nails, nose, etc. Wiping your face once in the morning and once at night will leave the cotton pad black!
Your period: Believe it or not the altitude affects your period! Even if you are not meant to get it on the mountain, bring with you extra undies and pads/tampons/whatever you use. Some ladies choose to take the pill to postpone it but it’s best to bring pads because you never know. The last thing you need on the mountain is your period when you are not ready for it!
Your morning-after look: If this is something you might care about, a waterproof eyeliner/mascara helps to make you look a little more lady like and a little less like a dude while on the mountain :) 
Your mane: To avoid a mop of grease on your head, wear your hair in a bun the whole time and hats will keep you warm and still look good too. Some girls who are comfortable letting their hair down, are better off wearing a french braid. It keeps your hair together, and you still look good in the pictures after.
Your body: Body sprays also come in handy when you want to just refresh yourself – and also refresh an item that you’ve been wearing for 3 days straight! It will get pretty cold towards the end on some of the nights, so you won’t even feel like changing your clothes. The body spray will come in handy for moments like these :)
Your talons: Keep your toe nails super short! They will break otherwise and you might lose them if you don’t. The pressure of the climbing, especially downhill, is brutal to your toes so if you don’t cut them short then you risk losing it later. You can keep your fingernails normal if you want, it actually helps to keep them slightly long because because you can clean them properly. When they’re too short, it feels like the black grime just gets lost in there forever. 
Your underwear: Some women swear by thongs and believe them to be better than normal underwear. With all of the movement and layers of clothing, you will keep getting massive wedgies, and thongs are more comfortable.
Your skin: Bring a strong SPF and don’t forget to put it on your hands! Your face will burn for sure but don’t forget your hands, because they’re the first giveaway of your age. And if you feel a zit coming, DON’T pop it. The amount of dirt and bacteria festering in your fingers will only make it worse. (Remember, water is scarce)
Your lips: If you bring lip balm make sure it has sun protection as well, because your lips get mutilated from the sun and the exposure in general. 
Your dignity: A she-wee is your best bet for bathroom breaks since there’s less mess, and lesser time will be taken for bathroom stops. By the end of the trip however, nobody else around you will care, because they’ll be in the same boat as you. Take cranberry extract and drink lots of water to help stave off nasty UTIs. 

Your nausea: The altitude will get to you at some point or another, even if you’re taking Diamox. Symptoms include, nausea, dizziness, and a loss of appetite. The Diamox affects your kidneys so you will be peeing a lot more than usual. Remember to drink lots of water to replenish the fluids lost, and this will also help with the nausea. 

If you’ve got any more tips up your sleeve, please do share!

Infograph: Why I’m climbing Kilimanjaro this summer, who I’m climbing for, and why you should donate. 

How to buy and pack a backpack.

There are more than a million persons in Egypt with physical or mental disabilities living in the fringes of society, out of which 3-4% suffer from an intellectual disability. Statistics for the disabled, however, are not very recent and numbers could be a lot higher because families are reluctant to disclose information about such members at home.  The disabled are hidden from ‘polite society’ because one of the many commonly held, but mistaken, beliefs is that disabilities are a form of divine retribution for a past misdeed, and therefore a cause of shame.
Due to these widespread social attitudes, people who are ‘different’  from the majority are marginalised, maybe even feared and loathed, certainly neglected and isolated.  They are therefore denied a Right to Live.

The Right to Live Association is a non-profit organisation catering to the needs of children and adults with mental disabilities. It was established in 1981 by the parents and families of those with intellectual disabilities. They provide a wide range of services which includes a rehabilitation center, vocational and pre-vocational workshops, two residential homes for young men and women, a training center for personnel working in the field and an early intervention center.

The aim of the association is to give the best possible services for the special needs individual and their families, and to encourage and train them to reach the highest level of independence depending on their own individual skills. 

Thanks to the help of many individuals and organizations, they have become one of the most reputable organizations working in the field in Egypt, with their services extending far beyond their initial premises to cover Egypt as a whole. This has been achieved through a number of protocols signed with different organizations to provide training and consultations to various associations working in the field, in addition to employment opportunities for persons with disabilities who graduated from other centers associations.

To ensure the continuity of our services during these hard times, we are requesting your support to the Right to Live Association by sponsoring one or more of our special children and youths. The cost of sponsoring one student in 2012 is LE30000 annually (equivalent to $5000).

The Association depends on grants, donations, sponsorships and fund-raising events to support its noble cause.  One of the initiatives that the RTLA uses to raise funds is the ‘7 day climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro’ in Tanzania.  

I am going to take up the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and intend to raise a minimum of USD 10,000 to donate to the Right to Live Association for the Intellectually Disabled. It’s as simple as clicking the ‘Donate’ button on the right. (that-a-way »»>)

With your donation, you will ensure that a mentally disabled individual will continue to receive the services and care (s)he deserves, and that (s)he, like everyone else, has the right to live, work, play and be part of life.

I can’t believe there are only 69 days and counting for this trip! Is you’re interested in everything there is know about climbing Kili, have a look at this itinerary which will give you a rough guide of what you (I) should expect. 

Arrival to Tanzania is on August 19, 2012 with the climb beginning the following day.

Day 01: Arrival In Arusha town (1,254m)

Airport > lodge. 

Day 02: Drive to Machame Gate (1490m), hike to Machame Camp (2,980m) – (B/L/D)

Depart by vehicle to Kilimanjaro. At the gate the crew finalizes porter packing and after finishing with formalities we start of from Machame gate. Hiking is through verdant fromontane forest to Machame camp and on route we have a picnic lunch. Overnight Machame Camp.

Day 03: Hike to Shira Camp (3840m) – (B/L/D)

From Machame camp > Shira Camp. The first section is relatively steep and altitude is gained rapidly.  The zone we pass through today is known as the heath zone where attractive helichrysum and lobelia plants become apparent. Various geologic features can be seen today from lava tubes to glacial valleys. Overnight Shira Camp.

Day 04: Hike to Barranco Camp (3950m) – (B/L/D)

Today is a walk high sleep low day, for acclimatisation purposes. Hopefully no dizzy spells or nosebleeds on this day! We will ascend to the alpine desert and even up to Lava Tower before descending to Barranco camp. Overnight Barranco Camp.

Day 05: Hike to Karanga Valley (3,930m) – (B/L/D)

From Barranco camp, famous for its giant groundsels (Dendrosenecio species), we ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga camp. Today is a relatively short day hiking and lunch is taken at Karanga camp. In the afternoon a walk can be taken with our guides for great views of the southern walls of Kibo and deep glacial valleys. Overnight Karanga Camp.

Day 06: Hike to Barafu Camp (4,550m) – (B/L/D)

Half day ascending to Barafu camp. Desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp and yet in the evening splendid views of Mawenzi peak are the norm. A relatively early dinner is taken before heading to rest for the evening. Overnight Barafu Camp.

Day 07: To the top of Africa and down to Mweke Camp (3,100m) – (B/L/D)

Most people depart just before midnight for the final summit bid. Patience and persistence is the name of the game to reach the summit and by dawn as the first rays of light start to appear - most arrive near the rim. Ascending via Stella Point affords a relatively short final section to Uhuru peak, the Roof of Africa!

What goes up must come down and our goal on this day is to reach Mweka camp before dusk. Overnight Mweka Camp. If we are late summiting then we may camp at closer Millennium Camp.

Day 08: Leave the national park, onward travel – (B)

After breakfast, we descend once again through mountain forest and around mid day, after saying farewell to our crew, we are picked up and transferred back to our lodge for a well-deserved shower!

After an exhausting day being a creep at Comic Con, Azher and I went to check out gear for Kilimanjaro.