Only 48% of those that attempt to summit Kilimanjaro actually do. On August 14th, 2013 six women, ages 16-66 successfully reach the roof of Africa. These are my dear friends The Scott Family.
KPAP SmartWool Sock Drop
I collected, transported and donated 1200 pairs of SmartWool socks to The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, a non-profit that ensures the ethical treatment of porters. This was also the same day i came off the mountain, so to say I was tired is a bit of an understatement.
This cave is produced from a small crack where vapor from the sleeping volcano escapes.
It is said these glaciers will be gone within 10 years.
Karen is the director of KPAP. She also lived in Denver for 14 year. We discovered that most likely ran into one another at an independent coffee house that I used to work at. Insanely small world. We still keep in touch regarding the Porters.
Our camp is in the distance here, 18,600 feet. At night the temperatures fell far below zero. The air is barely there and sleeping is a misnomer. When I exhaled at night, my breath would freeze and fall back onto my face. I still have gaps in recollection of what transpired that next morning from the altitude.
When I wanted to take a walk to see the glaciers, these guys were happy to join me.
Me & Sunday
This is Sunday Kapange, one of our assistant guides. Kind hearted and always smiling.
It is my opinion that you do not climb Kilimanjaro, the porters climb Kili and pull you up. These are the wonderful humans that took such good care of us.
Up until recently, there were no weight restrictions on how much a Porter was asked to carry. This led to many Porters carrying drastically heavy loads. KPAP works with The National Park to limit the load to no more than 25kg (55lbs) plus their own gear.
Above the Clouds
Once we broke above the cloud level, we were in another dimension.
The Strongest People
The strength I witness was mesmerizing. These people (both men and women) are strong from the inside out. Our culture has no concept of physical strength in relation to what I experienced.
Every day the women would bring rocks from the creek side up the hill where these men would sound them into gravel.
This was our home for the bridge site. Every night Everest, Venueste, and Etienne would make us dinner (except the night Katherine made mac & cheese, which is difficult in Rwanda) and we would tell stories by the light of the stars. You could see satellites float by so clearly, you could almost touch them.
We took a brake one day and played soccer as well as took pictures.
Everyone wants to help
I was taught the meaning of community while here. Everyone helps, regardless of age or gender. Everyone values each other everyday.
Katherine & Andrew
These are the engineers that work for B2P (Bridges to Prosperity). They're goal is to teach Rwandans to build bridges. They were there for assistance and guidance but the Rwandans build their bridges.
At each end of the bridge a beautiful retaining wall was built.
All Dressed Up
This bridge was an event. The local school teacher name it "the ambassador" because it joined two providences. Once the bridge was complete, people dressed up and came to cross it.
The real power tools here were the people. We had some battery powered drills that we would use a gasoline generator to recharge, but the entire bridge was build by hand.
I spent and afternoon with the Massai.
When I told them they were stories of what I had experienced in my life, they were enchanted.
One of the ways they ensure children show up for school is they feed them. The gardens were prolific.
Joseph was the tribe leader and he brought me inside to have tea. We climbed inside his tiny home. We sat on a thatch bed and had some of the tastiest tea (which was extremely hot). He kept asking me something that I couldn't understand, then after about ten minutes I said "are you asking me if I tweet?" He smiled a massive Massia smile and said "yes!" I said no, but I'm on Facebook. He said good, we should be friends, and pulled his cell phone out of his wrap.
I have some of my best photographs from giving my equipment to others to experience.
I've always been a happy person, but Africa taught me how to be joyful and grateful. I never came across anyone who wasn't genuinely happy and grateful.
You haven't seen Bangkok until you've weaved in and out of traffic in the back of a tuktuk. One evening I hitched a ride home as the sun was going down. The driver was lost and I had the best view of Bangkok.
Thailand exudes its rich culture and history. Incense, flowers, street food and Buddha are everywhere. The people are tiny and always smiling.
I'm not kidding, I had the best noodle bowl ever from this lady, and it was less than a dollar.
Anything you could ever want without leaving the boat. I rode down canals while merchants sold their goods from other boats or along the side of the canal.
I lived here for a week.
No, I did not.
The ride from the mainland to the island.
This is how you buy gas on the island.
After five weeks in Africa I landed in Bangkok. My apartment I rented cost me $40 a day and this was the view. It had an infinity pool on the 38th floor and flat screen TVs in every room. It was a shock to my system to say the least. It was amazing.
My friends took me along the coast of the South Island to Invercargill. I was at the Southern most point in the South Pacific. The only place beyond was the South Pole.
40 million sheep
Yep, 40 million sheep and 4 million people. New Zealand reminded me of my home, Colorado. It was the first time I was not dealing with a language barrier and could have an amazing glass of wine.
I spent a few days traveling with Olivia from the Merino Wool Industry. She took me to several farms where I was able to film and learn about sheep. I ended up in Queenstown, where she grew up. She gave me great recommendations and sent me on my way.
The man on the right was in his late 70's and was the third generation raising sheep. He shared with me that in his next life he'd like to be a coffee farmer.
A Dogs Life
These pups have a wonderful life. They round up sheep for a living.
The 'gang' wears these shoes when sheering sheep. The 'gang' refers to the Maori men and women who travel throughout NZ sheering sheep.
These men spend no more than 3-4 mins per sheep.
I hear this guy before I saw him, he zipped up the mountain side with a trailer of pups behind him. The day was ending and it was feeding time.
This is Andrew. When I arrived at his ranch he said, "you're the girl that climbed Kilimanjaro?" Then he proceeded to tell me how he had done it 10 years ago, with his now wife Tracy (who was on Top Chef). He told me how he had planned to propose to her at the summit. Trouble was, she got altitude sickness and was unable to summit. Not to worry, he waited a few more days and successfully proposed at Zanzibar, on the beach.
This guy awaits his summer trim. The coat on a sheep is dense and heavy. I can't help but think they feel 10 pounds lighter after they're sheered.
Just south of Dunedin we took the dogs on a walk. I was able to see Blue Penguins, Albatross and some sun bathing Sea Lions.
This was my last morning in New Zealand. This was their spring and soon I would return to my fall back in the states.