Arrived Safely

Hello!  This is the first post for Operation Climb: Magen David Adom – The Sequel.  Howard, Max and Ben left the house yesterday afternoon at 1:00 PM (Chicago time), arrived in Amsterdam around midnight our time and then arrived at their hotel, The African Tulip, in Arusha, Tanzania at 1:00 PM our time. So it is a full 24 hours door-to-door.  They called and I was able to talk to them for about five minutes.  It was 10:00 PM Sunday night for them and they had just ordered dinner and then were going to bed.  I expect to hear from them again tonight around 11:00 when they wake up.  Then tomorrow morning they plan to call us again between 7-8 AM to talk to Shayna.  After that, it will be hit or miss as they will begin climbing Tuesday morning.  They are 9 hours ahead of us.

They were in good spirits when they left.  They got really lucky as one of their bags broke as they were carrying it out to the car and they were able to trade it out!  This time, Grandma Dolly and I were also more prepared. We actually left about 5 minutes before they did and took Shayna straight to the American Girl store on Michigan Ave. to get her first AG doll.  Howard, Max and Ben also left us voice messages so we can hear their voices whenever we want.  Howard read about 10 chapters of the book they’ve been reading together into her iTouch so Shayna can continue the nightly ritual.

People ask me why I am “letting” them do this again.  First of all, you need to understand that they didn’t ask for my permission.  When it ended so abruptly last time, I knew they would be going back.  In fact, until Ben broke his collar bone in a soccer game, they were supposed to go last year at this time.  They’ve never stopped training so in effect, they have now been training for a total of 4 years and Howard felt that it was “unfinished business.”  He knew that while he made the right decision last time, the boys didn’t get to complete the climb and reach the summit and it was through no fault of their own.  If you know my husband, you know that nothing goes “unfinished”.  Plus, they still haven’t raised enough money for their ambulance and now it is needed in Israel more than ever.

And so here we are…a little older, a little wiser…  Last summer, Howard tried a different malaria medicine which is easier on his system.  Plus, this year, we have a 2 year relationship with their guide, Steve and his family.  In fact, Steve’s son, George, is an email pen pal of Ben’s.   George is joining them on the climb too!  In fact, Steve and George picked them up from the airport (an hour drive each way).  I like that they have global awareness and friendships with people around the world.  So it’s different this time.  Howard and I have agreed that if he has altitude sickness, Max and Ben will continue without him.  I hope and pray that doesn’t happen but as we learned two years ago, “Expect the unexpected.”   I feel confident that they will summit this time!  I will continue to keep you updated as best I can!


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