During the past few months, I’ve been working super hard at finishing my book “From Platberg to Kilimanjaro”. And publishing it! Neglecting the blog. This doesn’t mean we’ve neglected our weekend outings. Apart from the odd day when we had to do other things, we’ve been nearly as busy as usual. Even as winter sets in and makes access more complicated. Our one climbing outing, which we had hoped would be in sunny conditions, ended up being in ice-cold conditions. And most of our hikes have been on fresh winter snows. But more about those outings later…
Writing the book sometimes felt like I was reliving the whole of my 2016 adventure to climb Africa’s highest mountains. It reminded me of reaching the summits of some of these mountains. It also brought back memories of some conversations and experiences I had along the way. Many of these made a lasting impression on me. But none quite as much as the tolerance displayed by the people in Gondar in Ethiopia towards a person with an undefined mental illness. Walking along the road, on his way into the town-center was a man. Stark naked. Unconcerned about his lack of clothes. Perhaps not even aware of his nudity.
When I asked my friend Abera what was wrong with the man he suggested that he’s not healthy. Nothing more. Not crazy, as we may have described this person if we encountered him in London, or Cape Town, or New York. I mentioned that I had seen another naked man sitting outside a shop the day before, and asked if the people don’t do anything about these people. No, he answered. We leave them in peace.
If this was London, the poor fellow would have been surrounded by a dozen cop cars, arrested and hauled off to the nearest prison. In Ethiopia, they left him. Tolerated his presence. In the same way, as they tolerated the ‘healthy’ people…
Where can I get a copy of “From Platberg to Kilimanjaro”?
You can buy the book direct from me – email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want next day delivery you can also order direct from Amazon’s ‘print-on-demand’ service (available in the UK, US, AUS, JP, CA, DE, and other EU countries).