Hospitality in extreme conditions
I recently had the opportunity to join the Malta KC12 team to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Missionary Movement Jesus in Thy Neighbour. I went to Tanzania with an open mind, not too sure what to expect of a sub-Saharan African country, and never did I foresee our host’s hospitality to reach the level that was experienced.
The hospitality I will describe here is not one of luxury but a genuine human kindness wishing their guest to experience their country at its best. I will caveat the below, that there were expectations of tips from there end but nothing more than would be classified as industry standard, and we had been made aware of this policy prior to our arrival in Tanzania.
We climbed the mountain with one guide for every two persons in the group, there is one head guide and a number of assistant guides, these are the persons who would be leading you every step of the way up the mountain. The organisation structure of the expedition was such that there would be a number of porters who would carry the provisions on a daily basis from one camp to the next. At the camp there would be the chef and his assistants, in charge of cooking for the expedition. We were with the above team for eight days, and without such a set-up our team of 20 climbers would not have been able to successfully ascend the mountain.
The guides assisted us in extreme weather conditions being from biting cold winds to blazing sun, having to tackle passionate but at times anxious climbers, who are challenging themselves in this harsh environment.
The guides all shared a willingness to go the extra mile, such as, by singing the Kilimanjaro song to lift our spirits and other mountain songs, in addition to providing greater attention to persons who are finding the mountain particularly challenging. They displayed a constant attention to detail and foresight, such as, bringing tea knowing that the body would need to be warmed from the inside on particularly cold routes. Continuous patience in relation to our requests for them to take photos with our cameras, when their most pressing task is to ensure that the team safely reaches the summit. A genuine concern was shown to provide us with lasting memories and encourage our friends to visit their country.
I returned from the expedition humbled that in such challenging circumstances one is able to demonstrate such hospitality towards their guests.