sunday morning i boarded a bus from nairobi to moshi and settled in for the six hour drive, half of which was over dirt roads. i had barely slept saturday night. i was too excited for the drive because i knew that this would be the day that i saw kilimanjaro. i expected the great mountain to dominate the landscape for most of my trip south. i couldn't wait. as the bus rolled over hills and dodged dead donkeys (i had nothing to do with this) and crazy baboons (i am not qualified to say if they were crazy or not but they were stealing fruit from some people who were walking down the road) i kept my eyes glued to the horizon. i even purchased the front seat ticket so that i wouldnt miss it. and the further south we went, the more confused i became... i stared off into the distance where i knew in my heart, and in my impeccable sense of direction, kilimanjaro should be. all that i saw was gray sky. this continued for basically the entire trip until i realized as we neared moshi that the mountain was teasing me and had veiled itself in cloud...i was looking at the mountain, but i could not see it. And i would not see it that day....
So after meeting the other volunteers and settling into our house some of the guys told me that the mountain is alwasy surrounded by cloud. I was not happy (you may have noticed that i just figured out how to use the shift key on this weird keyboard). I hoped that with 6 weeks to go i would get to see it at least once. I did not have to wait long.
the next day we made the 1 hour walk to town and as we were sitting on the sidewalk i looked up into the wall of cloud hoping (and maybe praying a little)... about that time the clouds parted (actually a hole just appeared in the center of the cloud so it looked like a donut...) and there it was as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun, the square top of Kilimanjaro...and i knew that i had arrived. okay, so that wasn't hemingway-esque, that was straight up plagiarism but i could not have described it better and even with the glaciers disappearing at record pace that description is still pretty darn acurate.
i have since seen the mountain several times this week. It seems that if I look at the clouds and concentrate hard enough it shows itself. We must have some kind of connection.