Kilimanjaro Expedition I: 12-17 April, 2001
- Saddle Up!
After three months of training and four hours' delay on the
morning of Thursday, April 12, 2001, our group boarded this truck for
the hour-long ride up the mountain to the Marangu Gate. The cause of
the delay was that our own school truck had broken down the day
before, forcing us to borrow this truck and its driver from
neighboring Mawenzi Secondary School.
- Mandara Huts.
The first night of our climb we spent at Mandara Huts. Here I pose in
the doorway with Verdiana Vedasto, one of my Mathematics students. In
the background is Goodwill Nambaya, who would prove to be our group's
most serious casualty when he contracted a case of altitude sickness
high up on the mountain. This photo (minus the sign at top)
accompanied the unrelated article about my eclipse trip in the July
12, 2001 edition of The
Crater. We enjoyed our first clear view of our distant goal on the
second day. From here, the rim of the Maundi Crater, a small feature
on the flanks of Kilimanjaro, Kibo is visible as a splash of brilliant
white on the horizon. Dark Mawenzi Peak is much closer here, and hence
appears larger, although it is shrouded in cloud. Shukuru Rajabu
(center) requested that I take this shot of her with teachers Japhet
Mpande (right) and Adam Gillespie, who is showing off an inlated
condom which served briefly as an ill-fated air pressure experiment.
- Suma John. Suma
John was, at 15 year of age, both the youngest and the smallest member
of our expedition. Here her Mathematics teacher is helping her reach
for a lofty goal. At this elevation of over 14,000 ft (4300 m), found
that the act of simply holding up this small girl for 30 seconds left
- Red-Hot Poker.
I snapped this, my personal favorite photo from that first trip to
Kilimanjaro, as we descended through the misty moorlands to Horombo
Huts on Day 3. The flower is commonly called a "red-hot poker."
- The Last
Waterpoint. About an hour after leaving Horombo Huts on Day 4 we
left the moorlands behind, and the high Alpine desert began. All water
for the next 24 hours' worth of drinking and cooking must be carried
from this point on. In truth, this place was little more than a marsh,
and its water was not fit for drinking. We had already filled our bottles at a
running stream about fifteen minutes back down the path.
- The Road to
Gilman's. As we traversed the relatively flat Mars-scape of the
high desert, we could see that the road ahead would be much harder. A
close examination of this picture reveals the track leading up the
flank of Kibo to Gilman's Point, which happens to be the spot at the
top where the snowfields at left suddenly disappear. Many climbers
turn back after reaching Gilman's at dawn, but it is not the summit.
Kibo. Verdiana and Suma lead the rearguard as we approached Kibo
Hut, our last waystation before attempting the summit. Mawenzi looms
in the background, five miles (8 km) distant.
- Before the
Dawn. High on the summit ridge, we took one last rest stop,
sheltered from the brutal wind by an outcropping of rock. Members of
this dauntless group are, from left to right, Rebecca Dawson, Verdiana
Vedasto, guide Adronis Meela, Lilian Odemary (apparently but not truly
passed-out), and Adam Gillespie.
- The Dawn. My
camera batteries finally gave in to the cold just as I snapped this
photo of the rising sun. Never in my life have I been so grateful to
see the dawn.
- A Path Made of
Snow. Verdiana and I have just returned from Uhuru Peak, which
lies at the highest point of the ridge in the background, against the
sky. The hard-frozen path was a difficult walk for anyone,
but more so for young
Tanzanians who had never before seen snow.
Point. Back at the relative safety of Gilman's Point and in the
full morning light, we allowed ourselves to celebrate our
conquest. From left to right, Verdiana, myself, Adronis, Rebecca,
Adam, and Lilian.
A Total Eclipse of the Sun in Zambia
- Lake Chala. Here I am supported by three of my friends from Peace Corps
Tanzania, from left to right: Ruby Chin, Laurel Brown, and Beth
Strunk. In the back stands Clay Hogen, sporting the beard which he
would later shave off after a clerk in a photo store in Dar es Salaam
saw a resemblance between Clay and Osama bin Laden. Clay and Laurel
both accompanied me on the trip to see the eclipse in Zambia. This
photo was taken by John Brecher at Lake Chala, a crater lake southeast
of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
- Mbeya Station.
Photographer John Brecher leans out of the window of our train to
check out the scene at Mbeya, the last official stop in Tanzania. At
left is a rather sketchy-looking character holding up a sign that says
TOURIST AND TRAVELERS INFORMATION CENTER Here.
- The Zambezi
Gorge. Downstream of Victoria Falls the Zambezi River roars
through a deep gorge for over 20 miles (32 km). We spent one day
rafting through the gorge.
- The Bridge.
This huge road and rail trestle connects Zambia with
Zimbabwe. Visitors can pay $75 for the chance to bungee-jump off of
this 340-foot-high span. Look closely through the rainbow, and you'll
see one of them here.
Falls. The world-famous Victoria Falls are at their peak flow
volume in June, the end of the rainy season.
- Meenu Pandey.
This photo shows a Zambian citizen of Indian descent, medical student
posing against her family's Land Cruiser. The dense foliage of a large
tree projects numerous images of the partial eclipse onto Meenu,
the car, and the mat.
At 3:09 PM local time on June 21, 2001 the Sun went out for three minutes.
- The Flip
Side. After the total phase of the eclipse, the projected
crescents under the tree were all reversed.
Kilimanjaro Expedition II: 14-19 January, 2002
- Cacti. A prime example of the
wonderful diversity of flora on Kilimanjaro, these cacti live in the
alpine desert at an elevation of about 14,000 ft (4300 m).
- Barranco Valley. View of Kibo from
the Great Barranco Valley. The valley floor is a moorland environment
dominated by Giant Groundsels, a unique species often referred to as
"Dr. Seuss trees" by those of us with the appropriate cultural
- Barranco Wall. Climbing the 1500-ft
Barranco Wall, I appreciated even more the backbreaking work of the porters who
help bring clients up Mt. Kilimanjaro.
- Rock Plates. Above 15,000 ft
(4600 m), all signs of plant life save a few lichens disappear. Here
we passed a veritable junkyard of platelike rock fragments. My theory
is that their origin lies in the freezing and thawing of fissured
rocks higher on the slopes of Kibo. The fragments then form
rockslides like the one pictured here.
- Barafu Campsite. Our final camp
at Barafu, with a spectacular view of the ascent route up the
Southwest Ridge to Stella Point, which lies to the immediate right of
the hanging glaciers at the top. Our mess tent is in the foreground.
- Dawn at Stella Point. The
sunrise at 19,000 ft (5850 m) is utterly breathtaking.
- Mawenzi Peak. As seen from the
summit, the snow-skirted spires of Mawenzi, Kilimanjaro's secondary
peak, stand out in stark relief against the morning sky.
- Mt. Meru. Viewed from the
summit of Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru, Tanzania's second-highest mountain at
14,800 ft (4560 m),
is forty miles (65 km) away and
looks deceptively small. At left is a wall of ice that forms
the western edge of the southern glacier fields.
- Uhuru Peak. Adronis and I pose
triumphantly in front of the wooden sign that marks the highest point
- Matt and the Glacier. I take a
brief rest in front of an ice cave in the glacier wall.
- Robert Anstey. After a good night's
sleep in one of the Horombo Huts, Rob made a full recovery from his
Meru Expedition: 26-29 April, 2002
- Setting Out. Sporting my 40-lb
(19-kg) pack, I posed for this picture in front of my rain-drenched
house right before boarding the truck with the students and other
teachers to head for Arusha National Park.
- Little Meru. The whole group
poses on the top of Little Meru Peak, elevation 12,650 ft (3900 m), a
side trip on the afternoon of
our second day of hiking.
- Summit Ridge. Students Ally,
Elisante, Neema, and Lucy enjoy the view from Little Meru. Behind
them the ridge leading from Rhino Point to the summit of
Meru is visible. The summit itself is hidden by clouds.
- Five Boys at Dawn. Students
Pius John, Ally Abushiri, Emanuel Christopher, Lomnyack Loruvai, and
Apolinary Samwel were still going strong as dawn broke.
- Sunrise on Meru. As seen
from the top of Tanzania's second-highest mountain, the sun rises behind
- Ash Cone. From the interior of
Meru's giant, U-shaped crater rises the newer Ash Cone. Evidence of
the volcano's most recent eruption, which took place in the late 19th
century, is visible in the form of lava flows on the flanks of the
cone, at lower left.
- Socialist Peak. Rob stands at
the summit of Meru, elevation 14,800 ft (4560 m),
which is marked by a metal Tanzanian flag. Also
pictured are Mr. Elisa Mghamba (left), Pius John (holding the dead
miniature antelope), and Lucy Kaywanga (reclining).
- Rhino Point. During our descent,
the rearguard of our
group rested at Rhino Point. Some say that the skeleton atop the pile
of rocks is that of a rhinoceros, hence the name. Note that the student behind
me is holding up a rather large bone.
- Full Moon. Back at
Mandara Hut on the crater floor, the just-past-full Moon sinks toward
the summit ridge as the Sun begins to bathe the cliffs with a warm,
- Fig Tree Arch. In the Meru
rainforest grows one of the most remarkable trees I have ever
seen. This giant, natural arch was formed by parasitic fig shoots
growing from a host tree which died many years ago.
Ol Doinyo Lengai Expedition: 3-5 June, 2002
- Ol Doinyo
Lengai. Tanzania's only active volcano is Ol Doinyo Lengai, whose
name means "Mountain of God" in the Maasai language. Here the 9,480-ft
(2900-m) conical mountain is reflected in a rivulet of Lake Natron, a
large soda lake that was in the process of shrinking due to the onset
of the dry season. The
white stripe spilling off of the peak is ash, not snow.
- Rob in the
Crater. Rob, a student of Geography, is in his element while
exploring the bizarre lunarscape of the crater. Note the steam rising
from the white cones, called "hornitos."
- Matt in the
Crater. For my part, I was totally exhausted after ascending the
steep and treacherous trail to the summit of Ol Doinyo Lengai. Note
that my footprints leave a visible trail in the ash leading up to my resting spot.
- Julius, Ngaya, and
Matt. Before descending, I posed for this shot with my best
Tanzanian buddies, Julius Koola and Ngaya Munuo. Below us is the
bizarre and spectacular
landscape of the Great African Rift.
- The Descent. On a
mountain as steep and devoid of handholds like trees and solid rock as
Ol Doinyo Lengai is, going down can be more challenging than climbing
up, and certainly more dangerous.
Mamabilly's Chicken Business in Arusha
Once a month came a day for slaughtering chicken, and neighbors of all ages
would come over and help with the job of plucking the carcasses.
Billy "Clinton" Sirito, age two, performs a quality-control check on
one of his mama's chickens.
Moshi Technical Secondary School and Moshi Town
- Matt at Home.
Photo of me sitting on the front stoop of my three-bedroom house at
- House #2.
Another view of my home of two years.
- School Gate. This is
the main entrance to Moshi Technical Secondary School, right on the
highway connecting Moshi with the larger town of Arusha, 50 miles (80
km) to the West.
- At the Duka. Across
the highway from the main gate is a series of general-goods shops, or
maduka in Swahili. The most well-stocked of these was the Pascal
Shop, where I would often go to buy bread, rice, spaghetti, detergent,
beer, etc. The young man behind the security grille, Issa, is a
fixture of the day shift there, although he is not the owner.
Assembly. Every school day at Moshi Tech begins at 7 AM with the
students lining up by class for assembly in the quadrangle. The students are
required to wear uniforms, and the school's few girls stand at the
front of the lines, which is why this photo shows only boys! Note that
the summit of
Mt. Kilimanjaro peeks out through the haze above the trees.
- Form IV-6
Class. This is a class photo, including most of the 41 students and their
Mathematics teacher, of the Form IV, Stream 6 Electrical Engineering
Class at Moshi Tech in October 2002, shortly before their graduation.
- Form IV-5
Class. This is a class photo, including the 21 students and their
Mathematics teacher, of the Form IV, Stream 5 Mechanical Engineering
Class at Moshi Tech in October 2002, shortly before their graduation.
- Form V. This is a class
photo of the boys of Form V at Moshi Tech, taken in October
2002. Mt. Kilimanjaro stands out in the background.
- Physics Lab. Part of
the Form V Advanced Physics class performs an experiment on rolling
inertia using simple equipment in the school's decrepit Physics Laboratory.
- Patriots' Fan?
Physics student George Maselle showed up to lab without the proper
uniform, but I forgave him since his sweatshirt showed support of my
father's favorite (American) football team. Of course, George picked
up this shirt in one of the numerous used-clothes markets in Tanzania that peddle
imports from around the globe, and had no idea what the shirt's logo represents.
- Exam Time. The 160
Form IV students sit together in the Assembly Hall to write their
practice "Pre-National" Mathematics Examination in preparation for
their all-important National Examinations, which were given in
- Computer Lab.
Students Ally Abushiri (seated) and Emanuel Alfayo help me to show off
the mousepads donated to Moshi Tech by the
Ellsworth High School
Timetable. Secondmaster James Daffa, Junior Academic Master
Emanuel Mkiramweni, and Senior Academic Master Joseph Futa stand in
front of the big tag-board in the Academic Office which serves as the
master class schedule for all 900 students and 70 teachers at the school.
- Milling Maize. This
man's name is Peter, and he performs a number of maintenance duties around the
school compound. When he is not trimming shrubs, he may be found here,
running the milling machine to turn maize harvested by the students
from the school's fields into flour for the students' meals.
- School Kitchen. Preparing
for 900 boarding students is no trivial task. This is one of two
smoke-filled kitchens at the students' dining facilities, where cooks
labor over huge vats heated by wood fires. Here the cooks are making
ugali, Tanzania's staple dish, a stiff porridge made from maize
flour. Ugali and beans form the bulk of the students' diet at
most schools in Tanzania.
- Lunchtime. The job
of serving the food in the dining halls falls to the students
themselves. Each student brings his or her own bowl into the dining
hall, where members of the classes on weekly mess duty will fill
them. Once all of the bowls are full, the rest of the students are
allowed back inside to take their meals. Most students then proceed to
- Baobab. In the
middle of the school fields, near the boys' dormitories, stands a
decent-sized specimen of a Baobab, that ubiquitous tree of Southern
Africa about which the local tribes say "God planted them upside-down." If you
look carefully, you'll notice that I am standing in the tree for scale.
- Moshi Town. View of
Moshi Town from the roof of the Hotel Newcastle.
- Bus Stand. An army
approaches an intercity bus stopping in Moshi most likely on its way
to Dar Es Salaam on the coast. The white cars in the foreground are
- Main Market.
Moshi's central market boasts everything from fresh fruits and
vegetables to hardware and audio CDs. I always enjoyed the shopping
experience there, especially compared to Walmart Supercenters here in
Supermarket. When I had an urge for some more distinctly Western
foods, I could always go into the Safari Supermarket adjacent to the
Main Market. This store is operated by Shabbir Hussein, pictured here,
and his wife. Extremely hard workers who are dedicated to their
business, they always welcomed me warmly. Shabbir would often make
trips to Dubai in the Middle East to place orders, leaving his wife to
mind the shop.
- Theodore Massawi.
Upon first moving into my house, I needed a great many items to make
the place livable, including cushions for my sofa and two chairs. I
found a good deal on the cushions and made an interesting friend upon
visiting the shop of Theodore Massawi (seated).
The primary mode of local transportation in Tanzania is the
daladala, usually a barely operational Toyota minivan. The
standard response to the question of how many people a daladala
can hold is "two more." This particular bus sports a RE-ELECT POVICH
DISTRICT ATTORNEY bumper sticker brought to Tanzania by my
Side-trip to Dar Es Salaam
- The Holiday
Hotel. View from the roof of the Holiday Hotel, a favorite place
to stay for
Peace Corps Volunteers on our inevitable visits to Tanzania's capital
city. The rooms are dirt cheap, and the common areas are
spacious. Best of all, there is a built-in wakeup call when the nearby
mosques broadcast the Call to Prayer from loudspeakers on the minarets
at 4:30 AM.
- Matt's Long
Hair. In a mirror at the Holiday, I contemplate chopping off my long red locks, which had been
growing for my entire two years in Africa.
- At the Beach. South
of Dar, the coastline of the Indian Ocean sports a number of beautiful
beaches, of which Kipepeo is one of the best. Here my whiteness is
emphasized by the contrast with the beautiful complexions of my
friends, cousins Christina Mushi, Ngaya
A. Munuo, and Vida Edith. Note that my hair is now short.
Friends and Neighbors
- Bibi. Mrs. Tabitha
Munuo, born 1911(?), is a fixture of the neighborhood. The matriarch
of the Munuo family who live in the house across the street from
mine, most afternoons she would sit in front of the house in her white
plastic chair. I always called her "Bibi," which means "Grandmother,"
and I would greet her in her tribal language, the Machame dialect of
Chagga, as she taught me to do.
- Anael Munuo.
Mr. Anael Munuo retired from teaching at Moshi Tech a few years
ago. Now he drives his Toyota pickup for a living, and certainly makes
better money this way. The load of grass pictured here, however, is for his own cows.
- Flora Munuo.
Mrs. Flora Munuo manages a busy household, including cows and goats,
when she has time outside of fulfilling her duties as Head of the English
Department at the school.
- Kibosho Graduation.
Mrs. Agnes Njau, a teacher of English at Moshi Tech, poses with nieces
Lightness (left) and Suzy (far right) and daughters Maggie and
Julieth. The occasion is the graduation day at Kibosho Girls'
- Stir-Fry. Sophia
Koola lends a hand in my kitchen. We were cooking a sweet-and-sour
stir fry for a small dinner party.
- Dinner Party.
Julius and Sophia Koola sit down to dinner at my house with Ngaya,
Josiah, and Thomas Munuo.
- Deo and Haika.
An attractive brother-and-sister pair, Deo and Haika Kimaryo sat for this
one photo in their house at the school. Two of the five children of Moshi
Tech's former Headmaster, they all were orphaned in June, 2002 when their
mother passed away after a long illness.
Replacement. To prevent a vacuum from forming in the wake of my
departure from Moshi Tech, I requested that a new Peace Corps
Volunteer be sent to take my place. Here my replacement, Stefan Gary,
stands with Headmaster Isaac Malisa in the roundabout near the entrance
to the school.
- At the Headmaster's
House. Mrs. Helen Malisa reads a storybook to her nephew, Markos
and her daughters, Truda, age 11, and Atu, age 7. Mrs. Malisa is a
biology teacher at Moshi Tech.
- Parting Gift.
Before I was to depart Moshi, the faculty of the school threw me a
farewell dinner party. Mr. Isaac Malisa, the Headmaster, presents me
with a gift while Secondmaster James Daffa looks on.
Kilimanjaro at Dusk
- Mt. Kilimanjaro. A fifteen-minute walk South from
my house would bring me outside of the school compound and up a small,
bare hill. From this spot I could enjoy an awe-inspiring view of
Mt. Kilimanjaro towering over the surrounding landscape.
- A Cloud Over the
Mountain. As I watched, this gigantic cloud grew upwards from behind
Mt. Kilimanjaro to reach across the sky. The setting Sun provided
low-angle light enough to bring out the incredibly rich textures and
produce the colors pictured here. Frustrated with my camera's
inability to frame this huge apparition properly, in the end I opted to tilt the
view 45 degrees.
- Sunset. The Sun
sets to the left of Mt. Meru on the western horizon.
Safari: 19-23 June, 2002
- Landrover. My
sister, Abby, and I sit on the roof of our safari vehicle, a Landrover
provided by Roy Safaris, Ltd. and piloted by our very competent and
companionable driver, Moses.
Crater. The floor of Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most
magnificent wildlife refuges in the world, and in June, right after
the rains have ceased, it reveals itself to be a paradise of
wildflowers as well.
- Flamingos. The
soda lakes in the Ngorongoro are a haven for flamingos.
- Lioness and Cub.
A lioness and a nearly-grown cub relax in the grass.
- Serval Cat.
Serval Cats like this one are most commonly found on the East African Savannah.
- My Mother. This is my
mother, Judith Povich. She is standing next to an Aloe Vera plant and
underneath an Acacia tree.
- Kopjes of the
Serengeti. The Serengeti Plains are famous for a number of
reasons, chief among them vast herds of wildebeeste and zebra, of
which only the most minute representation is shown here. Another
signature of the Serengeti are landscapes marked by kopjes,
extrusions of igneous rock protruding from the otherwise table-flat terrain.
- Giraffes. This
is one of my favorite pictures, and giraffes are one of my favorite
African mammals. I am convinced that their peculiar, undulating gait
inspired the computer graphics designers responsible for Jurassic Park.
- Antelope. This
big-bodied antelope is called a Topi. The species is distinguished by
their dark coloring on their legs and faces.
- Water Buffalo.
Despite their rather ungainly appearance, the water buffalo is one of
the most dangerous species of large mammal found in Africa.
Encounter. We literally drove into the middle of this family of
elephants. There were about thirty of the animals altogether,
including calves. This was a bit nerve-wracking, as a few of these
massive mammals got a little too close for comfort!
- Lion. This lion
was too accustomed to SUVs to bother getting up when we drew close.
- The Photographer.
This is my father, Michael Povich.
- Lizard. My father
was able to get in close to this colorful gecko as it was sunning
itself on a rock near the Serengeti National Park Entrance.
The majority of these photographs were shot using my Olympus
Superzoom (38-70 mm) 700 XB camera, purchased in Arusha,
Tanzania. Other than those shots in which I appear, all of the photos
taken with this camera were taken by me. The mountain climbing
expeditions were all shot on Fuji 35-mm ASA-200 color negative
film. The images from Moshi Tech (including those of my friends and
neighbors), Arusha, and
Dar es Salaam were captured using
Kodak 35-mm ASA-200 color slide film.
The Safari photographs taken using Kodak 35-mm ASA-200 color slide film
with an Olympus OM 1 camera. Most shots were taken by my father,
Michael, but some were taken by me. Which are which
remains a matter of some confusion, because we
traded cameras so many times during that trip!
All of these images were digitized using a Minolta slide/negative
scanner and then cleaned up and processed using Adobe Photoshop 7.0.
Back to Welcome to Tanzania!
Last updated: Monday, June 9, 2003
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