Yesterday, on my way back from a one-day visit to Tanga, I caught a glimpse of both peaks, Kibo and Mawenzi, with Mawenzi partly covered by clouds.
|Approaching Himo, I saw Kilimanjaro's two peaks at a distance.|
As I waited for the restoration of electricity to complete a newspaper article, I visited an equipment rental shop to pass the time and chat. This is where last year's assistant mountain guide, Ben, works as a shop assistant.
"Aren't you climbing Kilimanjaro anymore?" I asked him.
He said he is taking time off, adding: "Si mlima uko?" [Isn't the mountain still there?]
This is a variation of a saying that employees of clearing and forwarding companies have been heard saying in Dar es Salaam: "As long as the sea has not dried up, there is always a means of making money."
I talked to the shop manager of my intention to buy climbing gear to avoid the annual equipment rental costs. He told me they regularly buy equipment from climbers who after ascending from Kilimanjaro decide to sell some of their equipment. At other times, he said, guides and porters offer for sale items that are given to them by climbers. In fact, he told me, that same morning a porter had offered a sleeping bag for sale for Shs.25,000/-. The manager said they rent sleeping bags for $US20 per trip.
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