Overwhelming Welcome in Nyegina!
This excerpt is from Mark Biernacki’s journal about February 3, 2016:
We leave our Musoma hostel and approach Nyegina village on the one lane dirt road into town. Thousands of school children and villagers line the road and crowd around our vehicles. We can no longer move so we exit and walk the remaining way. We are mobbed by the people. Drums and bongos are thrumming at a steady beat. People are singing and clapping. Leis are placed around our necks. Hands are shook and backs are patted. We are being treated like returning heroes after conquering far away lands.
Schoolmates of Nicodemus’s and Christina’s, our student climbers, are in awe of what their classmates have accomplished. They receive the loudest and most heartfelt welcome. The rest of us get a lot of attention, but not like the attention they are getting. The admiration they receive will last a lifetime. They will always be remembered in their village as the “ones that climbed Kilimanjaro.”
The scope and size of this reception is overwhelming. It is entirely unanticipated. Many of my fellow climbers are as overwhelmed and emotional as I am. I wipe away the tears in my eyes with one hand while trying to video the proceedings with the other.
This continues for another 10 to 15 minutes. The village is genuinely thankful for our efforts in climbing Kilimanjaro and raising funds to further the educational standards of their community.
We have been rewarded in the way in that we have tested ourselves and passed the self-imposed exam of scaling one of the world’s highest mountains. But, more importantly, we have been rewarded with the knowledge that we have made a difference, largely due to our donors who have so generously given. What we and our donors have done will have real and tangible meaning for the people of Nyegina and northwest Tanzania.