|The mountain's unique vegetation|
Today, a guide who said he is from Shinyanga but has a Chagga accent shared his views on how domestic tourism could develop by inculcating the culture of visiting local attractions in our children. When he mentioned the poor working conditions of the porters, he was supported by a flood of complaints by guides and porters who were listening to the conversation as we slowly made our way towards Barafu Camp, revealing an undercurrent of overall dissatisfaction.
The guide from Shinyanga walked ahead to his group and, thanks to the publicity raised by Gerald's daily dispatches to Clouds FM, told his visitors who we were and the objective of our climb. When we reached the group we were greeted with, "We heard you are climbing to raise money for charity. So are we, we've raised $150,000 for cancer research."
At the final valley before ascending to Barafu Camp I told the others that I would walk ahead to find out whether "I'm made of whisky or Coca-Cola." One of Mt. Kilimanjaro's routes, considered the easiest, is also called the Coca-Cola route, and one of the challenging routes are known as whisky routes. I made such good pace with little effort that I impressed myself. I went from ceding the way to porters to keeping up with their pace.
We had an early lunch and retired to our tents. I was upbeat and felt quite confident about my physical condition. Sometimes I was worried I had given too many horror stories about the difficulty of the final onslaught towards the summit that perhaps it would be detrimental to the morale of the others. I realized if I ever became an army recruitment officer, new recruitments will dwindle down to nothing.
About an hour before midnight we were awoken for the final climb to the summit.
Next: Reminiscent of the sinking of the Titanic.