Meet Dismas, my porter up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Each porter carries 20 kg (44 lbs.) every day up to 11 km as fast as they can (usually running up and down the mountain regardless of the terrain). Dismas also went the extra mile to set up my sleeping mat and bag, as well as greet me into the camp. Every time I saw him, I knew I was home and could rest. He would help me take off my boots, and we would talk about his dreams of being a Kilimanjaro guide so one day he could support his family. Coming down from the peak, he met me about 30 minutes from base camp and held my hand all the way back, because I was struggling with altitude sickness.
After completing my journey up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro, I learned that every porter (it is a 4:1 ratio of porters to climbers) only received approximately 32 cents for their services…after tips. One of the conversations I had with Dismas included a discussion about career goals. He said that being a porter is one of his two options if he ever wants to provide for his family – the other being a farmer.
Regardless of this injustice, Dismas continued to work hard for my sake. He chose to go the extra mile knowing that he would not get much in return. He taught me that love heals people and is always worth it.
(Disclaimer: My dad and I tipped him individually after learning this.)