Raymond, a mountain guide with Kandoo Adventures, greets a mountain guide from another team. Many (most?) of the guides and porters on Kilimanjaro are young men from the Chagga tribe who have grown in the area. They have spent their lives working through the ranks of trekking companies like Kandoo, gaining not just an intimate knowledge of the mountain itself—its ways and weather, rocks and animals—but a knowledge of human behavior in all of its wonder and mystery.
I learned a long time ago that controlling the information needed to be an effective guide is the easy part. Learning how to deal with individuals who can be wonderful and generous and ill-prepared and difficult and gracious and entitled is the challenge. Mix these individuals into a group of diverse strangers, throw in a dollop of adversity and discomfort, put them in an unfamiliar environment for an extended period of time and (wowzer!) you have a potent stew. What will the outcome of this recipe be? And more to the point: how can it be managed?
Let’s just leave it at this: mountain guides earn their wages honestly.
Now don’t you wonder what they’re chatting about?
The photograph above was shot by Bryan, a friend and member of our 2019 Kilimanjaro Kandoo team.
I play in Africa but my “real” summer work is in Israel-Palestine.
If you are a pastor, church leader, or educator who is interested in leading a trip to the lands of the Bible, let me hear from you. I partner with faith-based groups to craft and deliver outdoor academic experiences. Leaders receive the same perks that other agencies offer, at competitive prices, and without the self-serving interests that often derail pilgrim priorities.
See here for a list of future trips.