This is a film about my personal Kilimanjaro experience and about the porters of Mount Kilimanjaro. My group and I raised over £2000 per person in order to support the UK based charity Dig Deep, which helps communities in Kenya with fresh water supplies, renewable energy, etc.
In return for the fundraising, we got to travel to Tanzania and climb the world’s highest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. While climbing up, I have recorded some bits and pieces along the way for you.
The porters of Mount Kilimanjaro – their rights and the customers’ struggle
Every one of us brought a big backpack and a small daypack with survival stuff in it. We didn’t have to worry about anything but to carry the 5kg day pack. The porters carried our bags, food, tents, sleeping bags, and even our water!
They hurry and RUN past you to make sure lunch is cooked in time and that the tents are set up when the customers arrive at the camp. When we arrive at night, dinner is already cooked, tents are pitched and the hot water is ready to have a quick wash behind the tent. The only thing we need to do is eat, sleep, wash, repeat.
While we are struggling not to throw up or faint, the porters and guides are trying to cheer everyone up all the way through singing, dancing and lots of jokes.
Hakuna Matata (don’t worry – be happy!)
The summit night
The last night was the worst night. After another entire day of hiking, we arrived at 6 p.m. at the base camp and had some dinner. Nobody was very hungry because the higher you climb, the less of an appetite you have.
At 8 p.m., we were already in bed to rest because at 11 p.m – we had to be ready to hit the summit. An entire night of walking in minus degrees is facing us right there. If we wanted to catch the sunrise on top of the mountain… we had to keep going!
Who cares about sunrises on top of the mountain when your feet and fingers are frozen?
At 11, we started walking. Everyone has their little head torchlight turned on. With our heads down, we watched every step we made to see what was ahead of us, despite our frozen feet.
There is the most amazing sky full of stars right above us but it didn’t matter because we had our heads down and were concentrating on our pace.
The air is getting thinner, so we try to continue breathing. It’s important to drink as much water as possible. Within 15 minutes, my water is frozen. Oh well, no more water for me then.
We cried and nearly passed out. One after another. It really hurts when your feet and fingers are frozen. At some point, I just wanted to sit down on the side and wait for the others to come back again. I really did not care anymore – I didn’t need to get to the top of this god damn mountain.
At the second I was about to sit down, one of the guides came, grabbed my hand and pulled me up. This little boost of energy was needed. It kept me going for a little while until I had to pee…and I didn’t want to pee in this cold. I didn’t even drink anything!? Where did this come from? 🙂 And the story goes on for another eight hours like that.
Finally, after 5 days and 5895 meters, we made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world!
I nearly fell asleep on top of Kilimanjaro and couldn’t wait to head off again and start descending. It all sounds a bit horrible right now, but it was so worth it. You challenge yourself, your mind and your body. That’s what it’s all about.
I will never forget this experience and the people who made it very special. We cheered each other up, kept each other happy, made jokes and were sad together as well. Some people choose to climb this mountain on their own and I cannot imagine how boring it would be to do so.
In my opinion, climbing this mountain requires 80 percent of mental strength and only 20 percent of physical strength. What your mind can perceive, your body can achieve. It really is like that, in whatever you choose to do in life.
However, this doesn’t mean you can be lazy and not train for this climb.
I did my physical training before Africa in order to make the entire procedure easier and this really helped me.
I built up a lot of strength in my legs before the climb and increased more red blood cells in my body, because I was wearing a [easyazon_link identifier=”B008B91KH4″ locale=”US” tag=”wwwtinatrav02-20″]trainings mask[/easyazon_link] during the workout.
Red blood cells are responsible for the transportation of the oxygen in our bodies and this is a massive advantage when it comes to altitude sickness. The [easyazon_link identifier=”B008B91KH4″ locale=”US” tag=”wwwtinatrav02-20″]trainings masks[/easyazon_link] is a simulations of elevation and forces you to breathe against resistance. Try it out!
If you decide to climb Kilimanjaro, please get in touch with me beforehand. I have a few friends there now who are certified Kilimanjaro tour guides. I can put you in contact with them directly, so your money will go straight into the local community and be spread equally amongst the porters of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tour guides, cooks, etc.,
Thank god there is an organization in Moshi town now called KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project) which takes care of the guides and the porters of Mount Kilimanjaro as they often do not have the proper hiking gear.
The porters of Kilimanjaro can go into this organization’s office, leave their mobile phones as a deposit (or something valuable), and get some decent clothes for the climb in return. After the hike, they can get their belongings until the next trip – and it is all for free.
So, if you are in Moshi town and you do not want your hiking gear anymore (no matter what size), go into the office and drop your stuff there. They will thank you forever!
Now, please enjoy the video.
Thanks for watching and Asante-Sana.
Love and Peace.
Did you like this article/video? Was this helpful for you? Have you climbed Kilimanjaro? How was your experience? Did you pay attention to what happened on your Kilimanjaro climb to the porters? Were they treated fairly? How did your body cope with the altitude?
Please comment on the box below this video, I would love to hear your experiences!
Are you going to climb Kilimanjaro? Check out my ultimate packing list Kilimanjaro.
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