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Home > Treks > Kilimanjaro > Day 7 > 7.3
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They Sat according to Pecking Order

They Sat according to Pecking Order
 
 

I UNLOCKED the door to the room I had been allocated - the same room I had stayed in before heading up the mountain – room 12. What a relief to see a bed that was actually off the ground. I dropped my bags on the floor before then returning to the reception where I picked up my storage bag, and my valuables. I returned to my room, locked the door, and then staggered into the bathroom to take a shower.

The power was out, but fortunately the water was still hot. I peeled off my filthy clothes and washed them as I showered. How nice it was to be getting warm water over me again.

Once showered, I put on some fresh clean clothes that had been stored in the storage bag that I had left here. What a relief to be clean again. I hung my wet clothes to dry, which I had washed everything I had worn up the mountain. Then I returned to the outdoor dining area to join everyone else.

Guides and porters sitting in pecking order at the farewell
Guides and porters sitting in pecking order at the farewell

I staggered back out to the outdoor dining area where the others were all assembling. We all went into the bar where most of the others bought a beer. I bought a coke. We returned outside and set up a large circle of chairs and sat down to enjoy our drinks.

Then all the guides and porters arrived. Jaseri sat down first to the right. Then his sons the assistant guides Azaan and Imara sat next to him, then the cook Hekima, then my porter, then all the other porters. They were obviously sitting in their pecking order, a tribal thing no doubt.

We had all agreed that Gary would do the speech and hand out the tips which we had organised whilst awaiting the porters. We had nominated Gary as he seemed to be the natural leader of our group, and he was quite obliging. A couple of the others had worked out the division of the tips. We all just paid up and amazingly they had divided it correctly as per Desmond’s suggestion.

Gary stood up and thanked the guides and porters. He made a brief speech, and then he went around our group to each thank the porters and guides. Most of the speeches were pretty brief, but I could remember mine:

About a year ago when I had my thirty ninth birthday, my friends asked me what I was going to do for my fortieth. I jokingly said at the time that I was going to celebrate my fortieth on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, which I considered to be totally impossible. Without your support it would have been impossible. So I’d like to thank you all for making the impossible, possible.”

Congratulating the cook
Congratulating the cook

Then Gary handed out the tips to the porters – starting from the least first. He worked his way up to Jaseri last, and jokingly said he didn’t have any more. They both laughed then Gary pulled out the biggest tip for him. They shook hands and hugged.

Looking around the group, there was the cook Hekima. He had been very quiet throughout the climb, working as the quiet achiever creating all our wonderful meals up the mountain.

Jaseri doing farewell speech
Jaseri doing farewell speech

Then there was my porter Hasani, the strongest of them all, carrying my heavy pack tripod and all. He had been an amazing support for me carrying up all my gear.

The guides were all from the same family. Jaseri was the head guide, and his sons Azaan and Imara were the assistant guides. I didn’t know until coming back down the mountain that they were all from the same family.

Receiving my certificate of achievement
Receiving my certificate of achievement

I’m guessing that Jaseri won’t be guiding for much longer as he gets older, so hopefully one of his sons will be succeeding him as head guide pretty soon. There is definitely a tribal protocol here where you have to be an assistant guide for a good fifteen years before you can become a head guide. Given they go up about once a month, that means you need to do at least a hundred and eighty trips to the top as an assistant guide before you can become a head guide. By then you would know every stone and plant on the mountain.

Jaseri and I
Jaseri and I

Then Jaseri handed out the certificates. Firstly Mark and Jono got green certificates to say they made it up to Gilman’s Point. Then the rest of us were presented with white certificates saying that we reached Uhuru.

Once all the certificates were handed out, Jaseri led the guides and porters clapping. Then they sang the Kilimanjaro song:

 

Jaseri – “Kilimanjaro,”

Chorus – “Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro… Kilimanjaro mlima mrefu sana,” (Kilimanjaro, long mountain journey)

Jaseri – “Na Mawenzi,” (and Mawenzi)

Chorus – “Na Mawenzi, Na Mawenzi, Na Mawenzi mlima mrefu sana,” (Mawenzi, long mountain journey)

Jaseri – “Ewe Nyoka,” (as a snake)

Chorus – “Ewe Nyoka, Ewe Nyoka, Ewe Nyoka, Ewe Nyoka mbona wanizunguka.”
(as a snake it winds all around).

 

My porter Hasani and I
My porter Hasani and I

With the ceremony finished, it was time for the porters and guides to return home to their families. Before doing so, we had some group shots taken. I had a nice photo with Jaseri, and a big group shot. I had a good shot with my porter Hasani, who had worked so hard behind the scenes and I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to at all until now.

With that we headed into the bar for another drink. I noticed some very nice African decoration in the room. Near the ceiling was a row of black silhouette animals with lights behind them. This gave the illusion of a beautiful sunset which I had yet to see in Africa. The ceiling was bamboo and there was a very interesting lampshade with palm trees and rhinoceroses.

A very well deserved dinner
A very well deserved dinner

We entered the dining hall and had the nicest meal of our lives, starting with vegetable soup. We then had an entrée, followed by a very nice main of fresh meat and vegetables. Then we had a lemon meringue pie slice for dessert.

After dinner, we all said good bye to each other. The receptionist had told me that my flight wasn’t for another day, so I will be here with Gary and Dawn all of tomorrow. Everyone else was either flying out later tonight, or early tomorrow morning. Ashley had to leave now, whilst everyone else was leaving at about five o’clock tomorrow morning.

With goodbyes said, I staggered back to my room, and took a long hot bath before crawling into bed. I had absolutely no intention of getting up any earlier than needed, even if it means missing the end of breakfast at 10:00. Breakfast will be until ten o’clock tomorrow morning, so there won’t be any hurry to get up at all.

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Date:

 

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Latitude: Longitude: Altitude:

18 August 2011

 

Mount Kilimanjaro

Tanzania

 

3°17'48"S
37°31'28"E
1100m ASL

 

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