Trail Report: Kilimanjaro (Part 2)

I promise in Part 3 I'll get to the actual hiking experience, but I thought it was worth one more pre-climb post!

Arriving at the Kilimanjaro airport was a somewhat odd experience. It's actually a very small airport that accommodates huge international flights, mostly filled with hikers and safari-goers. Getting through the airport to our driver, Muslim, was a little chaotic!

On our first full day in Tanzania, Muslim picked us up around 10 in the morning and took is to meet Muhammad, the head of our hiking outfitter. What a huge hearted man! He told us of his daughter, who was born with a mitochondrial disorder. He would like to someday open a center for special needs children as there are currently no resources for parents like him in Tanzania.

Muhammad told us that the most important thing to leave Tanzania with isn't memories of the safari or the mountain, but gratitude for the infrastructure of our home country. Things like public restrooms, paved roads, and safe sidewalks are things that we take for granted but need to appreciate. Their presence ranges from inconsistent to nonexistent in Tanzania.

I thought of the difference between impoverishment and deprivation. I think surely Westerners must come to East Africa and take in what they label to be an impoverished society, when maybe the society is just deprived of many of the things that we claim we cannot live without. Maybe we are deprived, too - of things that the East Africans have - and we don't realize it. Maybe it is possible for both of us to be rich, and it has nothing to do with what we own and everything to do with what we have. I'm coming to learn that these two things are very different.

Women carrying bananas into Moshi to sell