Before I go one step further in relating the story of the Kilmanjaro climb, I must introduce The Team. Pablo, Los Polish, and I did not just strap on backpacks and start walkin', oh no, quite the contrary. Our climb was organized to the T by One World Safari and we were outfitted (mine you, for just the 4 of us) with a support team of SEVENTEEN! We had one Main Guide (Busta, as in Busta- Rhymes, big guy in the red jacket and red hat), one Assistant Guide (Dismas, yes as in the Holiday with a D, other red jacked with Mr. Polish's hand on his head), one Cook (Lawrence in the yellow hat), one Waiter (Obedi, white hat with stripes), one Tent Fixer (Adam, aka Whitey, in the green coat and brown hat), and a whole lot of Porters. For me (and I consider myself pretty fit) it was hard enough to put one foot in front of the other carrying only a small canvas bag, the guys, the Porters were freakin' unbelieveable. By law, they are supposed to carry no more than 20 kilos (44lbs) but these guys loaded up tents, chairs, tables, sleeping bags, food, water, clothes, the Awesome Radio and everything else onto their heads and backs and moved it up the mountain. I never, in a million years, would have made it up that mountain without these guys. They kept us fed, dry, and motivated for seven days. These guys are the Superheroes of Kilimanjaro.
Dismas, my favorite :) On the Summit Day, he litterally took my and and sang to me for 6 hours climbing up to the top. Such a sweet man, with such a sweet laugh :)
You know, and I ask myself, would it be better for these guys if we, Rafikis (literally friends, but also white folk that come to climb), never came to Kilmanjaro? It is because of us that they go up this mountain and carry so much. Seriously, you really feel bad when you see these guys huffing and puffing up the mountain carrying a tent that you will sleep in, but I dunno, I mean with us coming, at least they have a job. And I think a job that pays ok for Tanzania standards. I don't know though. You look at Dismas, a man who is around 35, and he looks like he has been through a lot. Years on the mountain, as a Porter, the knees hurt, the back is strained. At least now there is regulation as to how much they can carry and regulation concerning their general well being. I don't know what do you all think? Have any of you climbed the mountain, what are your thoughts on all of this?
The song they sung to us the day we left the mountain: Kilmanjaro Song