Friday, September 19, 2014

Porters Database Project

It's been a busy couple of weeks here at MKPS.  We have Tracy Pepper in our office hard at work updating our Porters Database with photos and stories of some of the great porters who work so hard to get people to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

This database is going to help us share porters stories and hopefully get them the exposure they deserve so that maybe a kind and generous soul might want to sponsor one of them to continue their education so that they can live a life of their dreams.  

Maybe you've climbed Kili and you remember a porters face but can't remember his name.  This database will help reconnect people who may wish to help someone who helped them reach the "impossible".

We all have dreams.  Your dream might have been to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.  Many of our porters dreams are simple - to send their kids to school and to have the opportunity to earn more money through schooling.

Education is the KEY to a better life. 

Porters are contracted by guides from various companies. Zara Charity created MKPS to insure that porters were given equal rights and pay regardless of which company employs them. Their pay has not been consistent over the years but thankfully to Zara, the Minister of Tourism announced that all porters must earn $10/day. There has been some false claims that the porters working for Zara are not paid fairly and that the tips are not distributed fairly. Zara is the only company that pays their porters directly into their personal bank accounts which means that a porter must have a registered account. They also provide workshops on financial management, entrepreneurial skills, disease and alcohol education and a number of other courses free of charge to all porters and guides of Kilimanjaro. Many porters aspire to one day become guides or tour operators or entrepreneurs. Here we will share their stories and maybe find them a sponsor who will help fund their education to give them and their family a better future. These are a few of the wonderful porters of Kilimanjaro.  Zara is currently fighting the Tanzanian government to increase the wage by another $3. The stories are will inspire you and make you appreciate what you have.

Name: Wahabi Mziray 
Nickname: Waha
Title: Mountain Porter 
Age: 43

Family: A wife and three children: A son, age 15, two daughters age 10 & 5

Worked with MKPS for more than 7 years, 3 years as a cook.

"Zara is my first choice when I look for work as a porter. They treat everyone fairly. They help with hospital bills, sickness support and provided transportation to the hospical when my Mummy died. Many people appreciate Mama Zara. She helped us manage our money better by setting up bank accounts. Our salary is deposited directly which makes it easier to save. Zara company is very supportive."

He has all of his own equipment which was collected over the years as donations given to him from climbers.

His dream is to travel to Europe on holiday one day.

“I’d like to be an Assistant Guide but I need to improve my English and I would like to learn Spanish.”

He feels MKPS needs more equipment available for porters to borrow.

Name: David Mashambo 
Title: Mountain Porter 
Age: 32

Family: A wife and 2 children: Son 10 yrs, Daughter 2yrs

He has been a porter with MKPS for 2 years.

"It's important to know yourself, to know what you need. Many porters spend their money on the wrong things. My dream is to go to school to study Tourism. I want to become a tour operator or to run my own business but I would like to find a sponsor who can help me achieve my Bachelor of Arts in Tourism. Another dream is to make sure that my children are going to school so that they have a better life."

"MKPS is much better organized compared to other societies. They make sure that when I work I am paid and if I get injured I am treated immediately."

"Tips should be given directly to the porters from the clients if possible and not through the guides. Clients should consider tipping each porter no less than $15/day."

He owns most of his own equipment and clothing which he purchased himself with tips and salary. He needs thermals undergarments and mittens.

"Climbing the mountain needs courage and it is not easy work. You should sacrifice yourself. It is so difficult, you can die if you are not careful. But it will give you a better life and make you a hero."

Name: Yobu Eliamini
Age: 26
Title: Mountain Porter

Family: He supports his parents and his 18 year old sister who is at school. He pays her school fees.

He's been a porter with MKPS for 3 years.

"The difference between MKPS and other porters societies is we get our salary through bank accounts. The salary is fairly paid and it stays in the bank. I use tip money for my basic needs and give the rest to my mother, I only spend my savings on my sisters school fees and in the low season. MKPS also provide us with mountain equipment like raincoats. We are all one family, I like being an MKPS member."

He has purchased his own equipment but he doesn't have proper gloves. He said he's hesitant to borrow them from MKPS because he doesn't want to be held responsible if they are stolen or go missing. Also he mentioned that the guides prefer them not to wear gloves - they say it will make them stronger. If they forget their gloves at home, they can still work.

"My dream is to be a driver guide in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. I want to go back to school, study at the Mweka College for 3 years. I want to improve my Spanish. I want to help my family."

"The best part about being a porter is the hospitality - helping others on the mountain, supporting them by carrying their equipment and the satisfaction I feel helping both clients and my own team. We live as one family."

Name: Thomas Enosi Philipo
Age: 25 
Title: Mountain Porter 

Family: His father passed away. He supports his mother and his 15 year old brother.

He has worked as a porter for 2 years.

"I love the service we give from our company. I like how we make the clients feel especially when they reach the top and how happy they feel. I want them to reach Uhuru peak."

He has purchased his own clothing and equipment. A client gave him a sleeping bag and air mattress. He doesn't have gloves but he doesn't like to wear them.

"I want to study. I'd like to be a professional guide so I can help my family. I want to change my life."

Name: Joseph Paulo 
Nickname: Kabila
Title: Mountain Porter
Age: 26

Family: Not married, no children. His father passed away and his mother lives in another village. He sends her money.

He has been a porter with MKPS for 8 years.

"I lived in another village outside of Moshi. My father died when I was in Secondary School so I left and came to Moshi to find a job which would assist me to continue to study. I am currently studying tourism which I am paying for myself. My dream is to become a driver guide. I need 2 or 3 more years of study to reach that goal. It would be a dream to find a sponsor to help me finish my schooling. I use the high season very carefully so that I have money left in the low season"

He purchased his own equipment and clothing. He is in need of a new rain jacket and trousers, shoes and rucksack.

"I have only worked for Zara because the guides are my friends. Other companies don't pay as well. MKPS helps us when we have any health problems. If someone dies they will send him or her to their birthplace for a buriel. I once knew a porter who died on the mountain and MKPS paid for his funeral."

Name: Robert Mushi 
Nickname: Mseda (which means "Soldier")
Title: Mountain Porter
Age: 24

Family: He lives and supports his Grandparents but also sends money to his mother and father, he is the main earner in the family.

He has been a porter and member of MKPS for 4 years.

"Zara is a good company. They have the best tours which tip better compared to other companies. Better tips means we can get through the slow times when there is no work. If I am tired or don't feel well, my tips motivate me to work hard. Zara take care of everything which makes it easier for us to work. Everything is right. Professional."

"MKPS offer good service. They help with hospital costs. You can come to the office to fill out the forms and get medical attention right away. In the four years I've never been sick but I like knowing that I will be looked after if I do. Also, if a family member dies they offer support."

He has his own equipment and clothing. In the past he's borrowed jackets and they've given him a rash because they weren't cleaned properly.

"I am looking for sponsorship to help me to be a Guide. It's hard work but I want to be a Guide. I would love that. I want to go to school to study for at least 2 years. Six months is not long enough. I want to improve my English, learn French, German and Spanish. This will take time. I want a good job with a good salary so I can buy a house and start my own clothing shop in Arusha because it's a big city where there are many people."

Name: Jonas William 
Nickname: Kiwango 
Title: Mountain Porter
Age: 21

Family: Not married, no children. He sends money to his father.

He has been a porter for 6 months and is a member of MKPS.

"MKPS focuses on it's members rights and wages, other societies do not. I am now a dependable person to my family. MKPS pays well, I get to meet lots of people from other parts of the world. My dream is to be a tour guide so I can control my own life. I would like to improve my English and learn to speak French."

He borrows all of his equipment and clothing from MKPS. He doesn't own any of his own yet.

He likes to save his money in the bank. He doesn't spend his salary, he only uses his tips for basic needs including food, phone, clothes, rent and for his family.

He would like to see a rise in salaries for MKPS members.

Name:  Heppy

This is one of our women porters.  

Interview to come.