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Some Tanzanians who Work on Lengai

Page history last edited by Frederick Belton 13 years, 5 months ago

Ol Doinyo Lengai is very important to the local economy, in particular to the village of Engare Sero, the base for most Lengai climbs.  Even after the 2007 - 2008 eruption, many tourists still climb Lengai on day trips and most of them hire a guide.  Prior to the explosive eruption, large camping expeditions sometimes hired as many as 30 porters to carry up supplies for extended stays at the crater.  As of 2010, few people are camping at the summit so the demand for porters is down, but Lengai is still very important to the economy of Engare Sero.  Guides, cooks and drivers from Arusha also benefit from Lengai safaris.


The photos below show a few people who have worked on Lengai frequently.


 This is Burra Ami Gadiye, the most well-known of the Lengai guides. He has climbed Lengai many more times than anyone else in the world. Although he lives in a Masaai village and often dresses as a Masaai, he is not Masaai.  He prefers to guide day trips and does not normally particapate in overnight camps in the crater. If you are having a rough time on the climb, then you need Burra by your side.  Burra has been a very valuable source of information about Lengai in recent years.  To the left of Burra is one of our porters, Alaisi, who is wearing new boots sent to him by Tom Frisch of Canada.  A group of porters is standing behind us, waiting to be paid so they can start down.


This is Paul Mongi (Paulo), a guide from Arusha.  He also guides climbers on Kilimanjaro.  He has been with me on all of my Lengai visits except for my daytrip in 1997.  While in the crater, he tries to keep people out of trouble and chases away troops of baboons that want to plunder our camp.  In 2002 he sustained second degree burns on one foot when lava ignited his sleeping bag. Two days later he had a very painful descent of Lengai, with some of the burn blisters breaking along the way. Fortunately there was no infection and after medical treatment in Arusha the burns healed. The black containers in front of Paulo are 10 liter water containers. Each porter carries two.

Isack Jerry Sarakatai has accompanied many groups to Lengai as cook.  His excellent meals give Lengai campers the strength needed for the harsh conditions that Lengai campers encounter.  In a place as uncomfortable as Lengai can be at times, the cook is critical for providing the comfort of a good meal.  There is no better Lengai cook than Isack.

This is Othman Swalehe.   Although he is now a driver and does not climb Lengai nearly as often as in the past, he is famous among long  time Lengai climbers as an excellent cook.  He has also provided very useful information about activity in the crater.  In July 2001 he went down to the village to bring up more food and tea.   When he returned the next morning at 4 a.m. he came to my tent and said he was leaving some medicine in my shoe.  It turned out that he had brought up cans of beer for everyone!  In 2002 he was inside the tent with Paulo when lava flowed into it. Othman was not injured and saved Paulo by pulling him from his burning sleeping bag.




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