Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

 “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

African Safari: From Nairobi to Kilimanjaro

This is a view of Mount Kilimanjaro that Kim and I did not get to see. I post it so as not to disappoint readers, including one who was looking forward to seeing it,. The Wikipedia photo was taken by Muhammad Mahdi Karim.

Our plane to Tanzania from the small Wilson airport on the outskirts of Nairobi was a Twin Otter with single seats separated by a narrow aisle that held much of our luggage. It was a bottleneck one late-arriving passenger had to stumble through to sit down.

The aircraft’s non-uniformed, Anglo pilot, a grin on his weathered face, twisted around and gave us our flight briefing. He ignored the luggage. It was as different from our KLM attendant’s memorized agenda on our flight to Africa, as our scrumptious breakfast at the Norfolk was to the in-flight meal we were served in a paper sack on boarding.

The entire lunch consisted of a slice of zucchini, a slice of carrot and a leaf of lettuce on a miniature hamburger bun.

The meal reminded me of the sign noting that millions of Kenyans lived in poverty that I had seen on arrival in the city. Just how thankful some people would be for just such a meal was impressed even more on me as the plane flew over an area of Nairobi where salvaged crate box homes were crowded on top of one another.

I decided right there and then that there would be no complaints from me during my stay in Africa. Kim had the same reaction.

Meanwhile, my seat near the front of the plane gave me a pilot’s view of the 50-minute flight. I could easily tell I was not flying over the United States. The landscape below lacked the tidy borders of fences, parallel streets and plowed fields that consume Americans’ sense of tidiness.

But by my own personal criteria and desire for adventure, today’s flight was perfect – even though Mount Kilimanjaro was hidden by clouds, both from the air and when we landed at the tiny Kilimanjaro airport near its base.

“Perhaps it will be less cloudy tomorrow,” said our pilot as he bade us good-bye. I think he was more disappointed than his passengers. Kim and I were already thinking about our  next leg of the day’s journey, one in which all traffic rules, if there were any, were broken.

Next Episode: The Chaotic Drive to Arusha

Read Full Post »