Killimanjaro Essay

by | Nov 24, 2002

Mount Kilimanjaro 11/24/02

By Jeanne Buesser

As I look at my father’s photograph of Mount Kilimanjaro that hangs in my hallway, I remember the good times that our family had when we lived in Kenya.

I grew up with my two sisters and our parents in Nairobi, Kenya. While on leave from the New York Times, my dad was helping the Kenyan government, by setting up a school for Kenyans to learn lithography. My mother taught at the Nairobi International School, where we three sisters went to school. We lived in a ranch style house with a beautiful garden in an acre of property.

We often visited the Nairobi Game Park to see the wild animals, including lions, giraffes, rhinoceros, hyenas and gazelles. Once, on a short vacation, we went to Tsavo National Park and slept in a bungalow there. My father, who is also a photographer, awake at dawn one day, took a picture. The sky was tinged with pink clouds on the horizon. The grass was a sea of gentle swaying green blades. Superb starlings with iridescent wings of purple and blue flew across the sapphire sky. Yellow weaver birds were building their hanging nests in the thorn trees. Our family spent many a happy Sunday afternoon driving through the park, trying to identify as many animals as we could.

Just ahead was a huge silent majestic mountain, whose top was covered with snow. Mount Kilimanjaro 19,000 feet high, was a breath-taking sight. On the plains below, animals were grazing, a white stork sat on one of the thorn tree branches in the distance. I also remember my father commenting to me that there were men in white snowsuits climbing the mountain in the snow and for me to try and find them.

This quiet and peaceful scene was captured in Dad’s photograph and brings back great memories of my childhood in Kenya, over 33 years ago.


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