Without just a small sense of irony, as I sit here listening to Soundgarden (Pretty Noose to be exact) I don’t like what you’ve got me hanging from. A long and tiring weekend has drawn to a close and I’m now sat on a Monday night updating my blog here in the dark as yet another evening power cut plagues my time and forces me to use up what precious battery life I have left on me little lappy.
Once I returned from Moshi on Saturday I had just a couple of hours to get myself together and make my way down to the campsite to meet the latest group that’s climbing the mountain. This one is different though, as it’s headed by John Douglas, a longstanding member of our charity and good friend of Katy’s who has along with the rest of his group raised over £50,000 ahead of their attempt at Kibo summit this week. Quite a varied group of wazungu this lot, and I was honoured to be there to meet them all and try to explain a little more about where their money goes and what in particular I am doing out here working for VEPK. A few oldies in their 50s and 60s, a few thirtysomethings and a few young’uns make up their number of 19, and a good well-rounded group they seem to be too. Being their barman I got a chance to speak to all of them at some point, share my experience of Africa with them and also hear of the other mountains they’ve collectively and individually climbed between them. Quite an impressive list I must say, but as always with white people out here, around half of them were pure tourist material, and exactly the kind of people I have come out here to get away from. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy their company, but as always, it reinforces my decision to leave the UK and makes me feel even more strongly about wanting to stay here. One woman, who I only spoke to briefly, was so adamant that I was wrong; she just poo-poohed everything I said about wanting a new life, insisting that I was wasting my education and how on earth would I be able to buy a house etc living here on the money I do. It’s that attitude towards my outlook on life that really makes me sick, and although I know she didn’t mean to be quite so abrasive, I find it difficult to want to speak to people like that because it shows a lack of understanding for much more than just different cultures. My main point to her was that money, or rather the pursuit of it simply doesn’t interest me anymore, and having ‘enough’ was more than adequate for a person, me specifically, to be very happy indeed. She will go home to her husband once she has come down from Kilimanjaro, and probably have not been affected by her experience in one of the world’s poorest countries in the slightest. I wish her a safe journey back to whatever lifestyle she has and hope that it makes her happy. It’s not for me anymore.
The rest of the group however were extremely well schooled in the art of working and being in different cultures, and a few in particular really grabbed me as genuinely cool people who I am saddened to think that I won’t see again. We drank the night away on Saturday evening, along with Tine and Lisa, and picked up where we left off on Sunday night as the reality of what befell them sank in for the majority of the group, and their plans were laid out before them for the epic journey that is summiting Africa’s highest mountain. I really look forward to seeing their photos and catching back up with the few of them that are returning to the campsite next weekend, and hope they all make it safely up and back down again.