7 November 2011
On a cool Friday morning last month, two mini-buses left Nairobi for Arusha, Tanzania.
Inside the buses were 40 men and women from the Nation Media Group who had enlisted for a mission dubbed Kiliclimb Chukua Hatua, Maliza Njaa, a social responsibility campaign that seeks to raise Sh60 million for the Kenyans-for-Kenya initiative that is administered by the Red Cross Society.
The team was confident that it had prepared well for the perilous Mt Kilimanjaro climb. However, they were soon to discover that nothing could have adequately prepared them for the challenges that awaited them.
The team had carried the right clothes, bought the right food, taken the right exercises, and packed the right shoes.
But when the ascent to Africa’s highest peak started, they discovered that they could not make it to the summit with their heavy backpacks laden with supplies.
They needed help right from the beginning, and that is where the unsung heroes and heroines of mountain climbing, the people who make it possible for tough heads to conquer some of the most parlous peaks in mountaineering, came in.
Among these were two Tanzanian women Janet Shayo and Magdalena Ndesamburo a pair of daring beauties who work under the guidance of Casper Ignatius Mtuy, a guide on Mt Kilimanjaro and the ground handler for Tanari Trust, the company that coordinated the Mt Kilimanjaro expedition on behalf of the Nation Media Group.
Clutching a heavy bag in her left hand as she balanced a 20-kilogramme gunny sack on her head, Ms Shayo explained why she took a job that has for long been the preserve of robust men.
The 21-year-old secondary school graduate joined the trade two years ago after failing to get a job in Tanzania. But her